Go Back   Defense Technology & Military Forum > Global Defense & Military > Space & Defense Technology
Forgot Password? Join Us! Its's free!

Defense News
Land, Air & Naval Forces






Military Photos
Latest Military Pictures

Nellis_14_1162-1.JPG

Nellis_14_2512-1.JPG

Nellis_14_0051-1.JPG

Nellis_14_1085-1.JPG
Defense Reports
Aerospace & Defence







Recent Photos - DefenceTalk Military Gallery





Would Science Fiction MECH-Walkers make any sense?

This is a discussion on Would Science Fiction MECH-Walkers make any sense? within the Space & Defense Technology forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; In many Science Fiction movies, series, books and computer games the armies of the future use some kind of walking ...


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Rate Thread
Old February 10th, 2007   #1
Defense Enthusiast
Sergeant
No Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 223
Threads:
Would Science Fiction MECH-Walkers make any sense?

In many Science Fiction movies, series, books and computer games the armies of the future use some kind of walking MECH-machines instead of conventional vehicles.

Do you think that makes any sense? What advantages could such a design have over a conventional vehicle - besides just looking more cool and futuristic?

Do you think there will ever be such a machine in use?


My personal opinion is "i guess not", because i don't see any real advantages. Even if such a thing wouldn't stumble and fall all the time or at least when somebody shoots at it, still the bad ratio of ground pressure per square centimetre compared to a tracked vehicle would limit the weight and thus the armour drastically. And the legs would be especially vulnerable.

Since modern tank and even ship designs get flater and flater with every generation to make them harder to see and to hit, i guess that trend will continue in the forseeable future.
I would bet the generation of MBTs that will follow the next generation will not even have a real turret and a main gun anymore, but vertical starting tubes for advanced self guiding missles or something like that.
TrangleC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 10th, 2007   #2
Defense Professional / Analyst
General
Waylander's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein
Posts: 4,681
Threads:
I think you named the most important problems. And it would be interesting to see how such a beast could be operated by just one person.

But nevertheless I would give some weeks of my life for riding a Marodeur.
Waylander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 10th, 2007   #3
Deaf talker?
General
Todjaeger's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: New England
Posts: 3,098
Threads:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Waylander View Post
I think you named the most important problems. And it would be interesting to see how such a beast could be operated by just one person.

But nevertheless I would give some weeks of my life for riding a Marodeur.
Nah, I'd go for a Hussar HSR-200... Who wouldn't like running around at 150 km/h in a 30 ton robot?

-Cheers
________________
"I'm doing the same thing I do every night, Pinky..." comment from one lab mouse to another.
Todjaeger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 10th, 2007   #4
Defense Professional / Analyst
General
Waylander's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein
Posts: 4,681
Threads:
Yeah but just one large laser and paper armor isn't much fun either.

So I take the middle and go for a Huron Warrior.


BTW, no clan tech allowed!!!
Waylander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 10th, 2007   #5
Defense Enthusiast
Captain
merocaine's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Dublin
Posts: 771
Threads:
if you used super light alloys and active defencive measures and very big feet....maybe. Not in this lifetime unfotunatey!
merocaine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 10th, 2007   #6
Defense Enthusiast
Chief Warrant Officer
No Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 466
Threads:
Legs can be protected to a point, and if pressure is a concern, use bigger feet.

Why nature would evolve bipedal and multipedal designs is because they have their distinct advantages.

Offroad mobility is superior with legs, which combines both suspension and the propulsion mechanism in one package. A mech can move quite fast with its legs, and yet can provide a far more stable shooting platform than a tank at speed, which has to bounce up and down with the terrain. Legs are also more flexible. For example, if you ever played an FPS game, are you familiar with the technique called strafing? That means you're going sideways while shooting at the target.

Mobility, a mech can wade through deeper water than a tank can. Depending on size, I would think that mechs around the size depicted in the Heavy Gear franchise or in the anime show Votoms can do a better job traveling through tight roads and cities than tanks. They can also travel through areas where no tank can, and one thing they can do is actually climb.

If you want to reduce your frontal visibility, the mech can go into a prone position, like a solder trying to be a sniper. While it is up, its height provides a better vantage point for sensors, which can increase its range.

Mechs can be handy for lets say, building make shift bases on the spot. They are their own engineering and construction equipment.

I don't think Battletech style mechs are feasible but the kind of mechs I think that can be more feasible are smaller, tank sized mecha like in Heavy Gear.

http://www.dp9.com
crobato is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 10th, 2007   #7
Defense Enthusiast
Corporal
stryker NZ's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Posts: 143
Threads:
this page seems to cover the pros and cons

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mecha_a...l_War_Machines

and as to seeing mechs in our life time i think we may but if this is anything to go by i wouldnt keep your hopes up

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVwbUljGs3g

also i have seen a site with a working prototype of a 6 legged mech that kind of looks like a scorpian which is being designed for construction and search and rescue ill try and find it
stryker NZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 11th, 2007   #8
Deaf talker?
General
Todjaeger's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: New England
Posts: 3,098
Threads:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Waylander View Post
Yeah but just one large laser and paper armor isn't much fun either.

So I take the middle and go for a Huron Warrior.


BTW, no clan tech allowed!!!
Now that I think about it, I'll take a Scarabus instead, even faster, and I might even be able to give someone a splitting headache as well!

Seriously though, how big would a bi/quad-pedal have to be, to weigh 50-60 tons (reg MBT) and yet maintain comparable vehicle ground pressure? Not to mention what sort of armament could be mounted while retaining comparable armour protection and mobility (if that is even possible)

-Cheers
________________
"I'm doing the same thing I do every night, Pinky..." comment from one lab mouse to another.
Todjaeger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 11th, 2007   #9
Junior Member
Private First Class
No Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: MOCKBA
Posts: 88
Threads:
Only on a planet w/o atmosphere and an impossible surface like giant broken and torn lava. And probably it would be a Hexaped, no bipedal vehicle. (And provided nobody had invented some kind of anti-grav propulsion till then ...).
Distiller is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 11th, 2007   #10
Defense Enthusiast
Sergeant
No Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 223
Threads:
Quote:
Originally Posted by crobato View Post
Legs can be protected to a point, and if pressure is a concern, use bigger feet.
But to get anywhere near the ratio of a conventional tank, the feet would have to be bigger than the rest of the MECH.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crobato View Post
Why nature would evolve bipedal and multipedal designs is because they have their distinct advantages.
Sure, but don't forget that nature has to deal with other limitations than technology. No living organism can grow a free rotating wheel on it's body, because that wheel would have to be detached from the rest of the body to be able to turn more than 360. Just like no fish can ever grow a screw propulsion like we use it for our ships.
So even though legs are the result of billions of years of evolution and wheels are only the result of mere human imagination, that doesn't neccessarily mean that legs have to be that superiour.

What is so special and if you will, genious about a tracked vehicle is that it in some way always carries around it's own road with it. That is an advantage with which even legs cannot compete that easily.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crobato View Post
Offroad mobility is superior with legs, which combines both suspension and the propulsion mechanism in one package. A mech can move quite fast with its legs, and yet can provide a far more stable shooting platform than a tank at speed, which has to bounce up and down with the terrain. Legs are also more flexible. For example, if you ever played an FPS game, are you familiar with the technique called strafing? That means you're going sideways while shooting at the target.
Sure, but a tank can just turn by 90 and then drive into another direction while the turret with the gun still aims at the former direction. That is pretty much the same, isn't it?
I guess you will argue that a MECH would strafe much faster than a tank could change the direction. But you have to consider that what the MECHS do in those computer games is not physically accurate. Not even a human can run forward at full speed and then suddenly change the direction by 90 without stopping first. A very flat vehicle with a very low center of gravity can actually do that better than anything that is standing upright. So the fact that a real tank in the real world isn't "strafing" as fast as a MECH in a computer game, doesn't reflect physical laws and isn't a credible comparison.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crobato View Post
Mobility, a mech can wade through deeper water than a tank can.
Did you ever see a MBT with a 5m air tube ("snorkel") attached to it? If a tank can wade through 6-7m deep water today, i'm pretty sure tanks in a future in which they have to compete with MECHS will be able to do that too. Especially if they'll be equiped with electrical populsion that doesn't require oxygene to run anymore.
An no matter whether in the open field, or in a swamp or in a soft, spongy river bed, a MECH would always have bigger problems with sinking into the ground than a tank would have, because of that inevitable worse ground pressure ratio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crobato View Post
Depending on size, I would think that mechs around the size depicted in the Heavy Gear franchise or in the anime show Votoms can do a better job traveling through tight roads and cities than tanks.
OK, sure, but that is another league so to say. Such small MECHS would rather compete with infantry and/or small military robots, than with tanks. A MECH of the same weight-, armour- and firepower-class as a tank wouldn't neccessary be any more mobile in an urban area than a tank. Where the MECH might be better in walking over small structures, the tank would be better in driving under bridges and through tunnels.
And a big MECH with the big feet it needs would have problems with stair-like uneven ground and might stumble like that big robot in the movie Robocop, where a tank would simply roll up or down.

To say "The MECHS will be so advanced and secure on their feed that they will not stumble." is very questinable too. Don't forget how many years of evolution were neccessary to create us with our legs. Our biological walking mechanism and the nervous system that is used to controll it are far more advanced than anything that could be build and still be called a machine. And still we stumble quite often, don't we? Even four legged animals stumble.

Another factor is that a future tank with an electrical propulsion might be very quiet and thus more "stealthy" than a MECH could ever be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crobato View Post
They can also travel through areas where no tank can, and one thing they can do is actually climb.
That again depends on the size and weight of the MECH. I doubt that there would be much oportunity to climb up things for a MECH that weights as much as a MBT. Not many buildings or natural walls are stable enough to allow something that weights 30 to 60 tons to climb up on it without tearing at least parts of it down, i guess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crobato View Post
If you want to reduce your frontal visibility, the mech can go into a prone position, like a solder trying to be a sniper. While it is up, its height provides a better vantage point for sensors, which can increase its range.
Maybe, but that would take time and if he has the time to go into a prone position, that wouldn't leave him better off than the tank is all the time. And the tank can actually move at maximum speed while always being in a prone position, if you will.
If the advantage of firing from a higher angle would outweight the disadvantage of being an easier target yourself, then modern tanks wouldn't become flater but higher. That development will surely even increase the more clever self guiding missles become. For a missle that guides itself to the target and performs a top attack on it, it does hardly matter whether it's launched from 2m above the ground or from 8m above the ground.

Quote:
Originally Posted by crobato View Post
Mechs can be handy for lets say, building make shift bases on the spot. They are their own engineering and construction equipment.
OK, but it is very speculative to assume that something like that will be neccessary. As it looks today, the airlift-ability and all over mobility of armies will increase in the future, making temporary bases near the frontline less useful. Besides, there are tanks with pioneering equipment....

And to go back to nature...
When we look at nature we can see that all animals that rely on armour (like the turtle, the sea urchin, the lobster, the centipede and most bugs) have a flat, ducked body shape and a form that improves their ratio of body volume to surface. Because the smaller the surface, the more you can armour it without increasing the weight too much.
Considering that principle, the MECH really looks bad. You'd have to armour not just a relatively small structure but a lot of surface. The ratio of volume to weight would become ridiculous compared to a tank.

Of course they will have better, lighter armour in the future, but the principle remains. A tank using the same new super armour will still be way tougher and maybe even more agile due to the low center of gravity, than the MECH.

But if you reduce the MECHs armour drastically to gain mobility instead of protection, that makes it a competitor to the helicopter gunship. Another competition it cannot win, because it will never be as mobile and fast as the helicopter, just as it will never be as tough as the tank. So the MECH is a idea that is sitting between the chairs, so to say. And it will never make sense because the principles that cause it's inferiority to the two other systems are universal and cannot be changed by technological development, because every new technology that would be invented to make the MECH better, would also make the tank and/or the helicopter (or the antigravity flying saucer that might replace it some day) better.
TrangleC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 11th, 2007   #11
Defense Professional / Analyst
General
Waylander's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein
Posts: 4,681
Threads:
Not to talk of the increased area which you have to cover with armor. Legs, arms, etc all add muich larger areas than a compact tank design.

I also don't think a running mech is a more stable firing platform. Just take a gun and run through the field while trying to aim at something.

Maybe we should go away from big mechs.

If we refer to science fiction like Battletech I could imagine that something like the armored infantry could occur in the future.

With the ongoing development of muscle substitutes and small but powerfull servos together with modern batteries I could imagine that some kind of power armor is designed for infantry to provide it with exceptional protection and the ability to carry heavy weapons.

http://eco.khstu.ru/homepage/WildRat...pict/armor.gif
Waylander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 11th, 2007   #12
Grumpy Old Man
General
gf0012-aust's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Australia
Posts: 14,897
Threads:
how do you deal with a mechwarrior? you shoot it in the equivalent anterior cruciate.

hinged joints are a perpetual weakness. current PGM and sensor technology means that its possible to place rounds on target within a tight group far easier than ever before.

one of the few benefits of a metalstorm derived AP weapon is that you could predictively generate concussion impact within millimetres of a target point. change the round for effect.
________________
A corollary of Finagle's Law, similar to Occam's Razor, says:

"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity"
http://au.linkedin.com/pub/gary-fairlie/1/28a/2a2
http://cofda.wordpress.com/

Last edited by gf0012-aust; February 11th, 2007 at 08:25 AM.
gf0012-aust is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 11th, 2007   #13
Defense Enthusiast
Sergeant
No Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 223
Threads:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Waylander View Post
Not to talk of the increased area which you have to cover with armor. Legs, arms, etc all add muich larger areas than a compact tank design.

I also don't think a running mech is a more stable firing platform. Just take a gun and run through the field while trying to aim at something.
Right.

Another thing i forgot is that a tank will always be easier to repair, maintain, reload and airlift than a hughe MECH.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Waylander View Post
Maybe we should go away from big mechs.

If we refer to science fiction like Battletech I could imagine that something like the armored infantry could occur in the future.

With the ongoing development of muscle substitutes and small but powerfull servos together with modern batteries I could imagine that some kind of power armor is designed for infantry to provide it with exceptional protection and the ability to carry heavy weapons.

http://eco.khstu.ru/homepage/WildRat...pict/armor.gif
Yes, but if i would have to bet, i'd put my money on rather light exo-sceleton-like suites than something that would qualify as a small MECH like we know it from japanese cartoons.

I guess that at the time when we would be far enough to build such mini-MECHs, the armour piercing weapons will be too advanced to successfully introduce a new kind of armour suit to the battlefield. I guess that at that time a agile, mobile and most important stealthy infantry with some technological enhancements will suit the requirements of modern warfare better than thick body armour that will hardly protect against advanced weapons anyway.

The most effective weapon of the future will be micro-robots, i guess. Too small and quick to be fired at, but able to destroy even big machines in hughe numbers.
And that might evolve into nano-technology weapons that will render every other kind of weapon useless.
TrangleC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 11th, 2007   #14
Defense Professional / Analyst
General
Waylander's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein
Posts: 4,681
Threads:
But you do not always face equal opponents.
So especially during operations like in Iraq such heavy body armor would increase the survivability and effectivness during normal patrols and MOUT operations.

AND IT JUST LOOKS DAMN GOOD!!!!
Waylander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 11th, 2007   #15
Defense Enthusiast
Captain
merocaine's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Dublin
Posts: 771
Threads:
They could be very handy for urban combat though, peeking around corners and in windows and such.
If constucted with super light alloys and using active defence systems I think they could find there niche, sloped terrain, forrests, Urban settings. Finding terrain for your tanks to operate on is one of the shapers of modern combat.
If you had walkers who could move through forrests as easily as your infantry this would be a real advantage.
I wonder what kind of propulsion system a Walker would require? I imagine all those moving parts would suck up an awful lot of power, as well as taking a lot of maintaining.
merocaine is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:34 PM.