Friday, March 10, 2006

Rise of the Machines (Again)

So, currently the US military has armed, tank-tread robots to infiltrate caves, and armed, unmanned flying drones to go track people down and assassinate them. It seems the James Cameron/Terminator world already exists. Well, what else?

The U.S. Army has discovered a remote control gun turret that works, and cannot get enough of them. The army wants over 9,000 CROWS (common remotely operated weapon stations), but is only getting 15 a month. There should be about a thousand CROWS in service by the end of the year.

The idea for CROWS has been around for nearly half a century. Years of tinkering, and better technology, eventually made the remote control gun turret effective and dependable. CROWS us a real life saver, not to mention anxiety reducer, for troops who drive through bandit country a lot, and have a turret mounted gun (usually in a hummer). The guy manning the turret mounted machine-gun is a target up there, and too often, the bad guys get you. Not with CROWS. The gunner is inside the vehicle, checking out the surroundings on a computer monitor (with night vision and telephoto capabilities). CROWS also has a laser rangefinder built in, as well as a stabilizer mechanism to allow more accurate fire while the vehicle is moving. The CROWS systems cost about $260,000 each, and can mount a variety of weapons (M2 .50 caliber machine-gun, MK19 40-mm automatic grenade launcher, M240B 7.62mm machine-gun and M249 5.56mm squad automatic weapon).

Wow. First of all, this article references the scariest of all weapons, the AUTOMATIC GRENADE LAUNCHER (think about rapid fire grenade launcher for a minute, people. If you didn't soil yourself you don't have much of an imagination). Then it can be mounted and fired remotely? These things seem like they're straight out of the Red Alert videogames. (Hat Tip: Insta!)