back to article ATK shows off 'palletised, plug-in' robot cannon system

US weaponry and aerospace giant Alliant Techsystems (ATK) - makers of rockets to NASA, among other things - are pleased to announce their latest gizmo: the Palletised Autonomous Weapons System (PAWS). PAWS, according to its proud manufacturers, is: A self-contained and autonomous armament package... [It can] aim and fire …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tactical use....

    Wonder what the remote control range is?

    Could be just the thing for retaining a presence in places like Helmand, where people are much too politically costly (although pretty good value in cash terms) yet there's a need for keeping a presence in villages for when the tele-ban turn up demanding licence fees or whatever it is they do....

  2. Jan

    ...could use a couple of those...

    ...would keep my hands free from fending of those pesky users while fixing an outage.

    Wonder if they still fit our departments budget...

    mines the one with the IFF-transponder

  3. Paul Murphy

    Portal guns

    I reckon that they should be given speakers and a (dry/wry) sense of humour, so that they can coax people out of hiding to be shot etc.

    However the autonomous guns in portal were prone to falling over, so I suspect that may be an area for improvement - maybe giving them wheels? or the ability to hover?

    To be truly comical they could always be mounted on pogo-sticks.

    I for one would welcome our bouncy, sarcastic machine-gun wielding overlords.

    no suitable icon, so I'll just get my coat now.


  4. weirdcult

    Nowt to do with the article but.....

    I hope you are sueing channel 4 for their blatant rip off of your playmobil scenarios in their advert for the new Dispatches film about British Airways. Very naughty. Hem.

  5. Warhelmet
    Black Helicopters


    I've worked in places that use pallets. There were always problems with them going missing. I've seen more than a couple of sheds buillt out of pallets. I've seen solid fuel central heating fed with pallets. I've seen furniture built out of pallets.

    Also, I know of situations where enterprising theives have broken in somewhere and used a fork lift to load stuff onto it.

    Yes, wait for the bloody thing to run out of ammunition or it's battery to go flat and make off with it in a transit van. It's not going to run away... And how much do they cost?

  6. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Heads out still needed.

    The problem with sticking everyone nice and safely inside the bowels of the vehicle is you lose all-round visibility. No matter how many cameras you stick on the vehicle, you will have blind spots compared to the wide-angle eyeball Mk1 which can be panned through 360 degrees in moments. The cost is the vulnerability of the poor blighter chosen for the top-hatch job. This lesson was learned the hard way in tanks, with the usual compromise being a remotely-operated commander's gun outside the vehicle and an all-round view cupola. This gives the commander close to all-round visibility by using a ring of pericopes around his hatch. The periscopes allow the commander to scan, find and identify the target, and then he uses a dedicated camera or 'scope tied to the remote gun to aim and fire at the target. Despite being offered many clever technical solutions, the all-round cupola is still considered a vital bit of kit and looks to be for a while to come, which questions the idea of a remotely monitored pallet "gun pallets" being able to survive long unacompanied by a fleshy guard and target designator.

  7. Elmer Phud


    "the total time frame from shipping crate to firing is less than 10 minutes. "

    Unless you can't find the allen key that comes with all flat-pack stuff.

    No, it won't be the same spec as IKEA, most folks have dozens of them. It will be some odd military spec where the thing's made of titanium has 9 sides and costs $5000 a piece.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "You have 15 seconds to comply ..."

  9. Aditya Krishnan
    Thumb Up


    When does the BOFH get one?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Matt Bryant (well, sort of)

    Your comment prompted an idea.

    How about a bullet proof glass/laminate/perspex bubble or dome to allow someone to pop their head up for a Mk 1 eyeball look around, before returning to their screen if it's too risky? The dome can retract back into the vehicle and be covered with a sliding metal lid (for better blast resistance) when needed.

    It's not perfect, but it's a compromise between a cupola and an open hatch, perhaps more suited to light armoured vehicles such as infantry mobility vehicles or APCs.

  11. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    RE: Anonymous Coward

    The problem would be making it retractable and then fitting it to current vehicles. If you look at the US and Isareli vehicles, most solutions are tacked onto existing designs. The US has a number of kits for Hummers including open-topped turrets with glass-armoured faces (still vulnerable to the old Molotov cocktail or grenade from above). The Israelis have a whole range of "engineering vehicles" which are basically old T-55s and Centurions with the turrets removed and replaced with square superstructures made predominantly of armoured glass. Modern lamintaed glass can even be made RPG-proof, but a dome would be very heavy and also not optically flat, which could cause some aiming issues. Flat bulletproof glass is relatively cheap and easy to make - curves are not. Mind you, a live feed from an overhead drone would go a long way to compensating for losing the cupola, and a palletised remote gun system could easily replace the turret on such vehicles as the Bradley APC.

    I still prefer the option of having politicians scout ahead of our boys, it would probably make them a lot less eager to go to war int the first place!

  12. Craig

    Another suggestion

    Combination of the drone idea, perhaps launched from onboard the vehicle, with a camera array and software to collate and process the live video images from the camera array into a 3D view accessible through glasses/monacle/goggles with a sensor to detect head movement and pan the view automatically perhaps?

    The drone there to provide overhead view to see behind cover and just generally get an overview of a wider area.

    If the hardware and software could be made to work and fitted into a tank it would give you a completely unobstructed view, without any exposure at all. Of course the trouble is the cameras themselves would still be vulnerable, and the software would have to be designed to compensate for any failure as much as possible.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So it's...

    a small Phalanx/Goalkeeper then? How original...

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