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Robotics and Modern tactics/strategies

This is a discussion on Robotics and Modern tactics/strategies within the Military Strategy and Tactics forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; What effects, do you think, that robotics will have on the modern battle feild and modern tactics/strategies? I have gone ...


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Old February 26th, 2011   #1
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Lightbulb Robotics and Modern tactics/strategies

What effects, do you think, that robotics will have on the modern battle feild and modern tactics/strategies?

I have gone over this several times and want to see what others think. I just have so many ideas that my head could explode, .

Personally, I think that the stadarad squad size will be reduced to around three men and ten robots. Ten (about) people maning machine guns would be replaced by ten robots controled by one person safely tucked away in a bunker. EOD will be replace by robots. And things like that.

Just what I think.
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Old February 26th, 2011   #2
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Originally Posted by Darth Ice View Post
What effects, do you think, that robotics will have on the modern battle feild and modern tactics/strategies?

I have gone over this several times and want to see what others think. I just have so many ideas that my head could explode, .

Personally, I think that the stadarad squad size will be reduced to around three men and ten robots. Ten (about) people maning machine guns would be replaced by ten robots controled by one person safely tucked away in a bunker. EOD will be replace by robots. And things like that.

Just what I think.
Robots do not now, and nor will they in the immediate future, possess the dexterity or functionality to replace a soldier.

Last edited by FormerDirtDart; February 27th, 2011 at 01:25 AM.
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Old February 28th, 2011   #3
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Not completely true NASA has already build a robot that has the dexterity or functionality very close to human capabilities. It is not combat ready but I think it will not be much longer until the technology is aviable to give it legs and make a combat model.

Soldiers are already being replaced by remote controled robots so have one that can control itself is not too hard to believe.

In some ways robots are more capable that humans. (Here are just a few I can think of off the top of my head):
1. They don't hold back
2. They do not become scared
3. They don't feel pain
4. Are easily replacable (easier than a human rather)

I am not saying that these aren't also drawbacks.
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Old February 28th, 2011   #4
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This is a semi humorous site but some of the tech they show has real world potential.

Autonomous mobile assault robot with target-tracking abilities (seems like bad idea) | ArmedRobots.com

YouTube - ROBOT RAMPAGE!
The programing behind the making a dexterious robot that can move like a human is rather in depth and difficult to do at this time. EOD where the robot is able to be blown up is really different from programing it where it will be able to engage hostile humans on a battle field autonomiously, always need to have a human in the loop on shoot go/no go decisions. How do you stop the small robot that has been sent to kill civilians/ it malfunctions and kills them vice hostiles?
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Old February 28th, 2011   #5
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I would agree that haveing a completely autonomous combat robot is not possible to day and you would need a human controling it. Mostly due to the fact that robots don't have common sence.

However, think about it one human setting in a bunker somewhere could control two maybe three "Battle bots" at a time.

But lets stop debating where "Battle Bots" is possible today or not. What I want to know is how do you think robotics will change the way wars are fought and/or the tactics/strategies used.
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Old March 1st, 2011   #6
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What effects, do you think, that robotics will have on the modern battle feild and modern tactics/strategies?
First some general comments:
* Don’t assume that robots will replace humans, instead think humans + robots.
* Any vehicle can be roboticized. Consider the implications.

Problems
* For the foreseeable future shoot / don’t shoot decisions will have to remain in human control. The only laws currently available for autonomously acting mechanisms are those pertaining to mines, and a fully autonomous robot could easily qualify as indiscriminant.
* The enemy is not stupid. You need to think about asymmetric threats. A big weakness is the sensor systems. When they tested the SWORDS robot in Iraq one was disabled when the belligerents sent out a woman (i.e. non-combatant) who draped a shawl over it. Similar effects can be achieved using thrown mud and paintballs. Mobility can be block by something as simple as a rope across an alley or hallway. Solving these problems will probably require adding some form of manipulatory limb, which will require MAJOR upgrades in computing power and probably some form of AI.
* True AI systems will be undesirable until we can guarantee against logic sequences such as: “Enemies are people trying to destroy me. The lieutenant keeps sending me into situations where I may be destroyed. Therefore the lieutenant is an enemy. (Followed by a loud BANG, and a call to graves registration)”.
* Robots have problems interacting with the local population. You need human manpower for COIN operations, peacekeeping, etc. Robots that are not at least partially humanoid will have problems securing prisoners and collecting intelligence.
* Robots do poorly in urban combat because of the needs to climb stairs, ladders and ropes, jump gaps, etc. Basically you need a robot that can compete at parkour.

Advantages
* Robots can integrate data from multiple sensors better on the fly. They can also observe all 360° continuously, this will reduce response time of the entire unit in many combat situations, such as ambushs, significantly.
* Robots can respond faster than humans
* Robots aim better than humans (except snipers). The gun mount can also be stabilized to fire on the move.
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Ten (about) people maning machine guns would be replaced by ten robots controled by one person safely tucked away in a bunker.
If there is anything that a combat robot can do well would be this. The only reason that I can think of for not starting on it yet is an ongoing shortage of CROWS mounts. Production may not catch up with demand for a decade of so due to budget limitations.

Permanent bases should have them on disappearing/popup mounts to prevent them from being sniped. Temporary walled bases can use tripods mounts and a power cable to keep the batteries topped off. Using mobile armed robots except as backup is probably not desirable. A vehicle lager can just network all the vehicle through a command unit, even supply vehicle if equipped with robotic weapons. And a vehicle convoy can respond the same way on the road, so it could qualify as a rolling fortress.
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Personally, I think that the stadarad squad size will be reduced to around three men and ten robots.
Too few people.
* If you lose one you will lose ability to coordinate 1/3 to ½ your firepower.
* Not enough people organic to the squad to refuel and rearm the robots, or perform maintenance.
* Other problems noted above.

Consider this concept for a mounted infantry squad. A 13 man squad on roboticized quad-bikes, with CROWS mounts loaded with a mix of MMG (suppressive fire), M-312/307 (point fire), and 40mm AGL (indirect fire).
* HQ team (3) -- squad leader, com/sensor coordinator, designated sharpshooter
* 2x fireteams (5) – team leader/bot-handler, automatic rifleman, 2x riflemen, grenadier
* Com/sensor coordinator has satellite uplink and recon drones, and may also function as a forward observer to call in artillery support. If a missile launcher is available it will usually be carried by the sharpshooter. Fire team members could carry one disposable AT/bunker buster rocket on each bike.
In combat the team members dismount and the bot-handler organizes the robots into a base of fire element while the other 4 team members become the maneuver element. On the move this unit would rely on dispersal rather than armor to minimize casualties. The individual members would be vulnerable to IEDs, but this could be minimized somewhat by emphasizing the quad-bikes ability to travel places larger armored vehicles cannot. Available firepower should be greater than 2x a mechanized infantry squad.

A smaller 10 man version could be built using removing the designated sharpshooter and one rifleman from each fire team.
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EOD will be replace by robots. And things like that.
Telefactors/waldos for EOD. The bomb builders are always trying something new to get the disarmer, human or robot. The robots are more expendable than humans, but human paranoia allows them to be used more than once.

Telepresence could solve some of the non-combat manning issues.
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Old March 1st, 2011   #7
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and the dual between the pros and cons of the use of robots continues

Robots that could be put in operation with very little worries:
  1. Robots that perform recon duties. In this roll, robots are better than humans because they don't have to eat, sleep, stay warm/cool, don't get bored, and can be made very small (for easy concealment).
  2. Quote:
    A forward observer to call in artillery
    again for the same reasons
  3. A pack horse or a mule. A robot's strength is only limited by it's motors and power source. This means that they can carry object of almost any wieght for any distance. All you would have to do is make is autonomously controled; there are sensor that follow surten signals. Just give one of those signals to a squad member and it would follow that person until the end of time (or until the batter ran out). The squad could carry more supplies giving them more food, ammo, TP, etc. (They also will not care about having the extra load )
  4. there are other I just don't have time to finish the list cause my spanish teacher caught me.
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Old March 4th, 2011   #8
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The main issue is not the robots capabilities, since we may be able to get them to a level where they're sufficient.
No, the real problem is power. Any kind of advanced robot is going to need a terrifying amount of power, and the means to store all that energy in a small and light enough package simply isn't there, nor is it going to be for many many years, if at all.
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Old March 4th, 2011   #9
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No, the real problem is power. Any kind of advanced robot is going to need a terrifying amount of power, and the means to store all that energy in a small and light enough package simply isn't there, nor is it going to be for many many years, if at all.

True very true. However some could be directly attached to a generator; the ones that are like EOD, road blocks, defensive turrets (Near a main base), and other things like that.

The power systems are avaible but they would only last about an hour to mabye four (stretching it). That is not the problem big and better batteries are being developed for hybrid cars so the amount of power is not a problem. (In my opinion) It is how to recharge the battery once it is depleted.
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Old March 4th, 2011   #10
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The main issue is not the robots capabilities, since we may be able to get them to a level where they're sufficient.
No, the real problem is power. Any kind of advanced robot is going to need a terrifying amount of power, and the means to store all that energy in a small and light enough package simply isn't there, nor is it going to be for many many years, if at all.
Interesting comment – Why should a robot need terrifying amounts of power, as opposed to say a vehicle?

Are you referring to peak output, sustained output, or total on-board stored energy?

What would you be use that power for?
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Old March 4th, 2011   #11
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I can answer this part.

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What would you be use that power for?
The power would be use to run the all the robot's functions: Movement , sensors, lights , camreas, use of weapons , and the list goes on and on forever.
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Old March 4th, 2011   #12
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I can answer this part.

The power would be use to run the all the robot's functions: Movement, sensors, lights, camreas, use of weapons, and the list goes on and on forever.
That only requires power, not terrifying amounts of power. :

On land we will probably not see robots with more power than a tank (probably a robot tank), what works for one will work for the other. Small robots, requiring high density power sources are the ones with the problems.
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Old March 10th, 2011   #13
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3 Reasons as to why robots should never replace humans in times of war:
1.) A robots intelligence is defined by program. If the program has an error in times of war (Killing civilian, friendly fire, etc.) then who is to blame? With humanity on the battlefield there will always be rewards and punishments, and in this case who is to be punished? Yes, the robot can be destroyed but at the same time what does that accomplish? They can not feel, fear, or respect. Is the loss of life attributed to the robot, the military, or the programmer?
2.) The sheer price of construction in masses. Technology isn't cheap.
3.) If we take out the human element in warfare then war will become truly evil. The idea that a country could successfully conquer another without a single human casualty is disgusting. By removing humans from warfare you remove our respect for it and our respect for human lives. The paradox is that by trying to remove human casualties in war we are bound to devalue it, thus increasing in more aggressive behavior.

The most robots should ever be in war is aid; the aid of sight, sound, and intelligence.
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Old March 12th, 2011   #14
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I copletely agree with the 3rd point that you raise. War is evil and a terrible thing as it is. The only fortunate thing about it is that its usually avoided unless necessary due to its conequences. However make robots that fight a war for you and it may well mean that war becomes a common occurence.
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Old March 12th, 2011   #15
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What effects, do you think, that robotics will have on the modern battle feild and modern tactics/strategies?

I have gone over this several times and want to see what others think. I just have so many ideas that my head could explode, .

Personally, I think that the stadarad squad size will be reduced to around three men and ten robots. Ten (about) people maning machine guns would be replaced by ten robots controled by one person safely tucked away in a bunker. EOD will be replace by robots. And things like that.

Just what I think.
If this topic appeals to you there's a book you might be interested in reading (if you haven't already): Wired for War, by PW Singer. It's all about the history of military robotics and its continuing development in the 21st century. The book calls on a fascinating array of sources, from robotics developers and military officers to lawyers, psychologists and civilian occupants of places where military robots have been used operationally, in order to give a broad but rich look at the expanding role of robotics in human conflict.

I don't have a background in either the military or the robotics industry, but from a layman's perspective I found the book's coverage of technological details, moral and legal ramifications, and social impacts to be informative and thought-provoking.

You can also find a video of author PW Singer doing a short lecture on the topic here.

If the video catches your interest then you might want to chase up a copy of the book. Personally I found it well worth reading.
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