Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/04/us_army_goes_part_machine/

All US Army combat units now to include robots

Automated tanks, gunships, even generals on the way

By Lewis Page

Posted in Science, 4th January 2010 16:40 GMT

The march of the droids continues, with news emerging over the festive season that ordinary US Army line units - not special forces or temporary trial formations - will now consist partly of war robots and other digitally networked automated killware.

The revelations come with the announcement last week that the US Army's "Brigade Combat Team Modernisation" programme "Increment One" hardware and software will enter initial production as of "early 2010".

This first tranche of modernisation to American combat brigades will see the deployment in every formation of the following items:

Other bits and pieces to be delivered as part of Increment 1 include scatterable networked sensors and bugs, and kit to deliver the underlying net which will support all these things.

"Brigade Combat Team Modernisation" is the new name for the ambitious Future Combat Systems networked-army plans, now officially torpedoed after massive cost overruns and accusations of irrelevancy, and indeed possibly of madness. The original vision for FCS included even more puissant war robots, including a heavily beweaponed droid kill-chopper and what was in effect a powerful robotic tank.

Despite the nominal disappearance of the FCS droid-legion plans, the robotank and slay-copter plans may yet come to fruition in future "modernisation increments". One might also note that there are plans afoot in the Pentagon to largely replace human headquarters officers directing the machinery with automated software as well. ®