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Techtonic

War machines

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<b>PREDATOR <br></b><br><br>Also known as the RQ-1, this Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) built by US-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems went into production in August 1997. Since then, Predators have provided surveillance imagery - via radar, video cameras and infrared - to US, UN and NATO troops in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2002, the 'RQ-1 ' saw a 'change in designation' to 'MQ-1 ' with the addition of the AGM-114 Hellfire missiles that allow it to provide armed air support. The new Predators - over 160 in service with the US military - requires a pilot to remotely control the aircraft and an enlisted aircrew member to operate sensors and weapons;all of this from within the United States, while this drone flies its covert missions in as far as the Middle East.

War machines

Savio D'souza | June 8, 2013


PREDATOR


Also known as the RQ-1, this Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) built by US-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems went into production in August 1997. Since then, Predators have provided surveillance imagery - via radar, video cameras and infrared - to US, UN and NATO troops in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2002, the 'RQ-1 ' saw a 'change in designation' to 'MQ-1 ' with the addition of the AGM-114 Hellfire missiles that allow it to provide armed air support. The new Predators - over 160 in service with the US military - requires a pilot to remotely control the aircraft and an enlisted aircrew member to operate sensors and weapons;all of this from within the United States, while this drone flies its covert missions in as far as the Middle East.

<b>RQ-4 GLOBAL HAWK AND MQ-4 C TRITON <br></b><br><br>The RQ-4 Global Hawk is an unmanned surveillance aircraft that made its maiden flight in 1998, and was regularly used in Afghanistan and Iraq. This UAV, built by Northrop Grumman, is capable of surveying as much as one-lakh-square-km of terrain a day, making it an extremely important asset to military operations, whether for precise weapons targeting or for better protection of ground forces. <br>In May 2012, NATO signed a contract for five Global Hawks - and India, along with Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea have expressed interest in this machine for maritime and land surveillance. The US Navy is also testing a maritime version of the Global Hawk known as the MQ-4 C Triton. This machine is expected to enter service in 2015.

War machines

Savio D'souza | June 8, 2013


RQ-4 GLOBAL HAWK AND MQ-4 C TRITON


The RQ-4 Global Hawk is an unmanned surveillance aircraft that made its maiden flight in 1998, and was regularly used in Afghanistan and Iraq. This UAV, built by Northrop Grumman, is capable of surveying as much as one-lakh-square-km of terrain a day, making it an extremely important asset to military operations, whether for precise weapons targeting or for better protection of ground forces.
In May 2012, NATO signed a contract for five Global Hawks - and India, along with Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea have expressed interest in this machine for maritime and land surveillance. The US Navy is also testing a maritime version of the Global Hawk known as the MQ-4 C Triton. This machine is expected to enter service in 2015.

<b>REAPER <br></b><br><br>Like the RQ-1, the MQ-9 can be remotely piloted from within the confines of the US. But while the Predator started out as a surveillance UAV, there is no mistaking why the Reaper was built. <br>Given its significant loiter time, which allows it to be deployed for missions as long as 24 hours, the Reaper - over a 100 are in active military use - is equipped with four laser-guided missiles and Air-to-Ground Missile-114 Hellfire, making it capable of lethal and precise military strikes. 'Don't fear the Reaper?' I think not.

War machines

Savio D'souza | June 8, 2013


REAPER


Like the RQ-1, the MQ-9 can be remotely piloted from within the confines of the US. But while the Predator started out as a surveillance UAV, there is no mistaking why the Reaper was built.
Given its significant loiter time, which allows it to be deployed for missions as long as 24 hours, the Reaper - over a 100 are in active military use - is equipped with four laser-guided missiles and Air-to-Ground Missile-114 Hellfire, making it capable of lethal and precise military strikes. 'Don't fear the Reaper?' I think not.

<b>IROBOT'S PACKBOT, SUGV AND 710 WARRIOR <br></b><br><br>The PackBot, SUGV (Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle) and 710 Warrior are all multi-functional tactical robots that are widely used by US military forces, the SWAT and first responders for tasks that are too hazardous for humans. <br>Depending on their payload, these bots have been used in explosives detection, inspection, identification and disposal;to collect air samples and detect chemical agents in case of biological warfare;and to help with situational awareness. <br>While the rugged PackBots and the heavy-duty 710 Warrior have been largely employed in war zones, the smaller and lighter SUGV finds favour with SWAT teams and first responders in urban settings for surveillance and reconnaissance tasks. These mini powerhouses, which are manoeuvred using a gamepad-style controller, can climb stairs, roll over obstacles and even enter inaccessible areas;making them ideal for military operations in urban terrain, tunnels, sewers and caves. <br>In fact, the PackBot machines - weighing a mere 18kgs and rugged enough to survive a fall from a height of six feet onto concrete - were the first to enter into the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant after the 2011 earthquake in Japan. <br>It is estimated that over 2, 000 of these machines have been deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

War machines

Savio D'souza | June 8, 2013


IROBOT'S PACKBOT, SUGV AND 710 WARRIOR


The PackBot, SUGV (Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle) and 710 Warrior are all multi-functional tactical robots that are widely used by US military forces, the SWAT and first responders for tasks that are too hazardous for humans.
Depending on their payload, these bots have been used in explosives detection, inspection, identification and disposal;to collect air samples and detect chemical agents in case of biological warfare;and to help with situational awareness.
While the rugged PackBots and the heavy-duty 710 Warrior have been largely employed in war zones, the smaller and lighter SUGV finds favour with SWAT teams and first responders in urban settings for surveillance and reconnaissance tasks. These mini powerhouses, which are manoeuvred using a gamepad-style controller, can climb stairs, roll over obstacles and even enter inaccessible areas;making them ideal for military operations in urban terrain, tunnels, sewers and caves.
In fact, the PackBot machines - weighing a mere 18kgs and rugged enough to survive a fall from a height of six feet onto concrete - were the first to enter into the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant after the 2011 earthquake in Japan.
It is estimated that over 2, 000 of these machines have been deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq.

<b>LEGGED SQUAD SUPPORT SYSTEM (LS3) <br></b><br><br>It has a freaky gait, but it's hard not to marvel at the level of engineering that went into creating the LS3 (Legged Squad Support System). This robot, built by Boston Dynamics, is designed to help troops carry heavy equipment from one place to the other during wartime. <br>Each LS3 can carry up to 180kgs of gear and enough fuel for a 30-km mission lasting 24 hours. <br>The automaton can follow its leader using computer vision, and it can navigate to designated locations using terrain sensing and GPS. What makes the LS3 absolutely fantastic, however, is that it's as sure-footed as a mountain goat: running at 6kmph;climbing slopes up to 35 degrees;maintaining its balance even when pushed and kicked, and even when it's walking across rubble, muddy hiking trails, or on something as slippery as ice. And if it should tip over for some reason, the LS3 can automatically stand up and carry on. <br>This hound has been in field testing since 2012, and will probably make its real-world debut next year.

War machines

Savio D'souza | June 8, 2013


LEGGED SQUAD SUPPORT SYSTEM (LS3)


It has a freaky gait, but it's hard not to marvel at the level of engineering that went into creating the LS3 (Legged Squad Support System). This robot, built by Boston Dynamics, is designed to help troops carry heavy equipment from one place to the other during wartime.
Each LS3 can carry up to 180kgs of gear and enough fuel for a 30-km mission lasting 24 hours.
The automaton can follow its leader using computer vision, and it can navigate to designated locations using terrain sensing and GPS. What makes the LS3 absolutely fantastic, however, is that it's as sure-footed as a mountain goat: running at 6kmph;climbing slopes up to 35 degrees;maintaining its balance even when pushed and kicked, and even when it's walking across rubble, muddy hiking trails, or on something as slippery as ice. And if it should tip over for some reason, the LS3 can automatically stand up and carry on.
This hound has been in field testing since 2012, and will probably make its real-world debut next year.

<b>RECON SCOUT XL AND SCOUT IR <br></b><br><br>The Scouts, XL and IR, are throwable micro-robots that are being used by US troops for situational awareness. The XL weighs just 640gms and can withstand repeated throws of 30 feet and drops of 15 feet, after which it can traverse landscapes of rocks, grass, sand and debris to provide soldiers with video and audio reconnaissance in high-risk situations. <br>Similarly, the water-resistant Scout IR allows warfighters to gain inside knowledge about hostile environments. These bots are equipped with infrared optical systems that automatically turn 'ON' when the ambient light is low, allowing it to "see" in complete darkness. <br>In the US Military, these micro Scouts are deployed at the fire-team level - one robot for every four to five soldiers - to provide situational intelligence as the team clears compounds, investigates suspected explosives, or searches attics, culverts and crawl spaces in war zones. <br>In fact, in 2011-12, the US Army and Marine Corps placed an order for more than 1, 800 of these micro sentinels.

War machines

Savio D'souza | June 8, 2013


RECON SCOUT XL AND SCOUT IR


The Scouts, XL and IR, are throwable micro-robots that are being used by US troops for situational awareness. The XL weighs just 640gms and can withstand repeated throws of 30 feet and drops of 15 feet, after which it can traverse landscapes of rocks, grass, sand and debris to provide soldiers with video and audio reconnaissance in high-risk situations.
Similarly, the water-resistant Scout IR allows warfighters to gain inside knowledge about hostile environments. These bots are equipped with infrared optical systems that automatically turn 'ON' when the ambient light is low, allowing it to "see" in complete darkness.
In the US Military, these micro Scouts are deployed at the fire-team level - one robot for every four to five soldiers - to provide situational intelligence as the team clears compounds, investigates suspected explosives, or searches attics, culverts and crawl spaces in war zones.
In fact, in 2011-12, the US Army and Marine Corps placed an order for more than 1, 800 of these micro sentinels.

<b>TERRAMAX <br></b><br><br>It all began in 2004, when Oshkosh Corporation entered its unmanned vehicle technology in the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Grand Challenge - a contest for driverless vehicles. <br>Since then, the US-based company has also competed in the 2005 contest, as well as in the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge. Oshkosh is now developing its TerraMax technology for US Department of Defense, and is even supplying these to the English military. <br>TerraMax, basically, takes the form of a modular kit that can be integrated into any vehicle. The system is capable of autonomous navigation with a single operator controlling multiple vehicles in a military supply convoy. It uses radar and laser beams to measure the vehicle's distance from other objects. And together, these sensors create a map of the truck's surroundings, allowing it to navigate almost autonomously. <br>In tests, TerraMax trucks have performed admirably, travelling only slightly slower than a manned convoy. Future plans involve using the technology in reconnaissance missions, and to transport supplies to high-risk areas, freeing troops from possible roadside bomb attacks and ambushes.

War machines

Savio D'souza | June 8, 2013


TERRAMAX


It all began in 2004, when Oshkosh Corporation entered its unmanned vehicle technology in the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Grand Challenge - a contest for driverless vehicles.
Since then, the US-based company has also competed in the 2005 contest, as well as in the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge. Oshkosh is now developing its TerraMax technology for US Department of Defense, and is even supplying these to the English military.
TerraMax, basically, takes the form of a modular kit that can be integrated into any vehicle. The system is capable of autonomous navigation with a single operator controlling multiple vehicles in a military supply convoy. It uses radar and laser beams to measure the vehicle's distance from other objects. And together, these sensors create a map of the truck's surroundings, allowing it to navigate almost autonomously.
In tests, TerraMax trucks have performed admirably, travelling only slightly slower than a manned convoy. Future plans involve using the technology in reconnaissance missions, and to transport supplies to high-risk areas, freeing troops from possible roadside bomb attacks and ambushes.

<b>CHEETAH <br></b><br><br>The boffins in Boston Dynamics are not quite content after creating the LS3 pack mule. They're now working on another four-legged metal beast called the Cheetah. <br>In March this year, this machine clocked the fastest land speed of 46. 6kmph for a legged robot. <br>The current version runs on a high-speed treadmill in a laboratory where it is powered by an off-board hydraulic pump. The next gen Cheetah robot, WildCat, is designed to operate untethered. <br>WildCat recently entered initial testing and is scheduled for outdoor field testing later in 2013.

War machines

Savio D'souza | June 8, 2013


CHEETAH


The boffins in Boston Dynamics are not quite content after creating the LS3 pack mule. They're now working on another four-legged metal beast called the Cheetah.
In March this year, this machine clocked the fastest land speed of 46. 6kmph for a legged robot.
The current version runs on a high-speed treadmill in a laboratory where it is powered by an off-board hydraulic pump. The next gen Cheetah robot, WildCat, is designed to operate untethered.
WildCat recently entered initial testing and is scheduled for outdoor field testing later in 2013.

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