Granted, robot drones have been in use for years, usually for diffusing bombs, reconnaissance, and other dirty, dangerous or dull work. But it seems militarized ones are now being pressed into production. 3000 to be exact! That’s the latest tally from developer Foster-Miller who produces the TALON (above left).
Apparently, this little tracked guy can is the fastest robot in production and is capable of traveling through sand, water, snow and can even climb stairs. It’s operators see what it sees courtesy of its mobile cam pod which can transmit live-feed video in color, black and white, infrared, and/or night vision, and from up to 1,000 m away.
But lately, the biggest development has been in adapting these things to become SWORDS – Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Detection System. This is the weaponized version of the TALON, which is being produced in conjunction with Metal Storm, the makers of the most advanced guns in the world.
In addition, the military has already field tested SWORDS with a variety of smaller weapons. These include the M16 rifle, the M249 SAW, the M240 machine gun, the .50 cal M82 Barrett sniper rifle, the six barreled 40 mm grenade launcher and the quad M202A1 flame thrower. The one pictured above is the Maars variant of the SWORD, which carries a M249 on one arm, and a quad 40mm grenade launcher.
And of course just about every advanced nation in the world is producing their own. Israel and Russia are two top contenders for weaponized robots, which include Israel’s automated “Killzone” towers and Russia developing tracked vehicles that can fire anti-tank rockets from concealed positions.
So basically, military forces around the world could find themselves facing an enemy that can kill them from up to a km away without fear, beyond the possibility of losing a drone. And it predicts a renewed arms race if in fact the militaries of the world begin adopting the technology en masse and using it for previously manned missions. Oy, I smell a sci-fi concept here!
For a demonstration of the TALON in action, check out the video below: