Has the military NOT seen the Terminator films? Both the Marines and the Navy are testing out new armed robots that could one day replace flesh-and-blood soldiers on the front lines.
In the series of films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, a computer program called Skynet becomes self-aware, and decides to wipe out humanity by commandeering an army of U.S. military robots and launching nuclear weapons. Now, that future is coming a step closer to reality.
The idea of a real life Terminator robots may concern some, but there are some important benefits. Most people would like to see fewer American soldiers risk their lives in combat. Drones have already become a essential part of American military operations, sparing the use of boots on the ground in many situations. A new generation of robots, however, could be a huge step in changing the nature of war. And it is eerily close to what we’ve seen in movies.
Among the new weapons are robots armed with machine guns that can storm beaches as a first line of assault.
The Navy is also testing speedboats that can transform into stealthy submarines to hide from threats.
The futuristic machinery has been undergoing tests for the last two weeks at the Ship-to-Shore Maneuver Exploration and Experimentation Advanced Naval Technology Exercise base at Camp Pendleton.
Tests are trying to work out if the robots can go from Naval ships to shore lines.
Marine officer have also been putting the machines through their paces in a range of realistic military scenarios.
Using robots as the first line of attack during beach invasions could ‘save lives’, according to the U.S. Marines.
The Navy are pinning their hopes on a ground machine armed with a machine gun, known as the Multi-Utility Tactical Transport (MUTT) robot. These machines can drive themselves during beach invasions and use tracks rather than wheels to navigate sea, sand and slopes. There are two wheeled variants, the 8×8 and the 6×6, and the robots can be armed with a range of different weapons weighing up to 600 pounds (272kg).
Another weapon attracting attention is The Fathom, a speedboat that can transform into a submarine. The hybrid uses two 480-hp Yanmar 6LY3-ETP diesel engines to cruise along at 38mph (61 km/h). The vehicle can dive repeatedly to evade detection and was built to withstand sudden pressure changes.
The testing of these robots has been going on for some time. This video, from last year, details the testing of the machine-gun mounted robots.