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Friday, April 25, 2014

Russia to Defend Missile Bases with Armed Robots




Why is it that when I first read that headline, I immediately saw the ED-209s?

From NewScientist (h/t Instapundit):

THE West has always been a little squeamish about the idea of arming robots. Despite decades of development, no systems have ever been deployed and a vocal human rights campaign means it's unlikely to happen in the near future. The Russians, on the other hand, appear to be rather less concerned. 
Last month, Dmitry Andreyev of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces announced that mobile robots would be standing guard over five ballistic missile installations. These robots can detect and destroy targets, without human involvement. Russia, it seems, is taking the lead in a new robotic arms race. 
The robot sentry, aka the "mobile robotic complex", was developed by Izhevsk Radio Plant, a company based 1200 kilometres east of Moscow. It weighs around 900 kilograms and has cameras, a laser rangefinder and radar sensors. For fire power it has a 12.7-millimetre heavy machine gun, with optional smaller weapons. It is quick too, hitting speeds of 45 kilometres per hour on a petrol engine. It can operate for 10 hours, or switch to sleep mode for a week. 
The makers put the sentry robot through its paces at an arms fair in Russia last year. Andreyev describes the robots as being able to engage targets in automatic as well as semi-automatic control mode. US policy, on the other hand, says a person has to authorise when weapons are fired. Drones don't fire missiles on their own, but act as remote launch platforms for human operators. Neither the makers of the Russian robot nor the Strategic Missile Forces responded to New Scientist's request for an interview at the time of going to press.

One commenter at Instapundit wrote: "With russian [sic] software to run it I would hate to be a soldier in any uniform anywhere near it." No kidding.

Well, I'm sure proper precautions will be taken, and that nothing can possibly go wrong.


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