back to article US monster-truck roboguns to blast enemies autonomously

Military boffins in the US are now equipping a small fleet of armoured lorries with automatic defensive weapons which can detect incoming antitank rockets and shoot them down in mid-air before they strike, meanwhile retaliating upon the enemy gunmen with devastating firepower - all without human input. The 'Buffalo' Mine …


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  1. Simon Cresswell
    Thumb Up


    Any chance of a version optimised for "Safety" camera vans?

  2. russell 6

    And for time off....

    Looks like its got some fishing kit built in as well

  3. Paul_Murphy

    Quiet day Lewis?

    "the leather-clad motorcycling lone wolf your mother forbids you to have anything to do with of the metaphorical boffinry-bureau-boyfriend community."

    I'm sure that these sayings don't fall out of crackers, and if they do then you are rather early.


  4. CC

    Giant TONKA TOY!

    Remember, the only difference between men and boys is the size and price of their toys!

    An easy way to defeat this thing would be to plaster it with paint, can't shoot if your blind.

  5. Big Al

    Sticks & stones

    So as soon as these are shipped to Israel and a Palestinian kid lobs a rock at one... all hell breaks loose?

    Won't somebody think of the children?!

  6. HFoster


    I wonder if some of these project names are given purely for the purpose of creating a "cool" sounding acronym, or if they are named and then backronymed to get past the funding decidion board.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    This is how Bolos/Ogres start

    The Cybertanks will win! Next stop Berzerkers!

  8. Jonathan White
    Thumb Up

    If you can't stand the heat..

    @big Al

    If you attack an autonomously armed vehicle full of battle-ready soldiers in a conflict zone, what are you expecting as a response, harsh language?

    And Lewis : The DARPA reference, much more like it, well done Sir.

  9. umacf24

    possible to have a human check first ....

    Why would anyone do that? What could possibly go wrong?

  10. Brian Miller

    How much for this thing?

    OK, so $8,000,000 to fit it with roboblaster kit to protect against a $1,000 weapon. But how much do these wheeled tanks cost in the first place? And who is the enemy in the first place? A bunch of nutters with explosives? We are going to be fiscally bled dry by a buch of guys running around in bathrobes and sandals. And before this it was a buch of guys in black pajamas and sandals.

    "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist." -- Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1961.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So let me get this straight...

    In an ambush, the al Quaeda-types set up a couple of rifles on tripods, fixed aim, triggered by control wire from someone a safe distance away in a trench. 1) Fire a round at vehicle. 2) Crosshair empties the magazine into a bare patch of rock, seriously damaging one rifle. 3) Fire second rifle. 4) No response as top gun out of ammo. 5) Rest of al-Quaeda-types can now attack with impunity. Five mins later the vehicle has been RPG's to death and the attackers have vanished back into the countryside before the air-strike can be called in. Sounds great.

  12. Havin_it
    Thumb Down


    Not sure, but I suspect a faceful of paint is less of a hindrance to a radar system. Plus a network of radar units was mentioned, so I guess you'd have to cover all of them for the attack to work (if it worked). Plus, multiple vehicles can share information, so if they travel in columns (admittedly perhaps this is unlikely as I'm sure the things won't be cheap) you'd have to hit them all simultaneously. Then of course you have to follow-up pretty rapidly with your actual RPGs, having already revealed your position when you threw the paint-bomb. In fact, if your paint-delivery weapon was ballistic (which it'd pretty much have to be if you wished to walk away), the system may have already foiled it just as it would the RPG attack.

    Even assuming you did effectively "blind" the system without getting yourself zeroed in the process, the occupants facing your sophisticated assault could always fall back to the old faithful "shoot everything in 360 degrees" plan.

    I'm sure it does have an Achilles heel of some sort, but I don't think this is it.

    Oh, and I think we have a winner for the Most Tortuous/Contrived Acronym Award!

  13. Ian Ferguson


    Just wait for somebody near one of these to release a dove of peace, which happens to fly towards the vehicle...

  14. Filippo Silver badge


    Making you spend a crapload of money to defend against a dirt-cheap attack sounds like a good deal for the enemy to me.

  15. john 154

    I for one.. tired of welcoming new overlords.....

  16. GeorgeTuk

    Big Al, my point exactly.

    But then I guess that is the risk of chucking stones at a tank.

  17. James 55

    From them there hills

    What about an ambush from high ground/a sand dune?

  18. Anonymous Coward


    We (Americans) would rather spend 8 million to protect our soldiers against an attack than not spend it and let them die. What does the cost of the attack matter? Besides, 8 million isn't even a rounding error in the federal budget.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To protect and serve

    What could possibly go wrong?

  20. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    "While simultaneously shooting rockets out of the air"

    Am I the only one who speed-read this as "ass"?

    Apart from that, the soldiers in those machines won't stay battle-ready for long. After a few rounds they will be donut-munching rear-echelon mofos or reservist lowlifers.

  21. Rob

    RE: Cost

    Well said, at least you (americans) are spending money on their soldiers, more than can be said for our pathetic arseholes running the MOD who can't even be bothered to make sure our troops have basic armour.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Probably useful for urban traffic conditions

    "raking the place it was fired from with a hail of fire from a .50-calibre heavy machine gun".

    C'mon you little toerags. Please throw something at my car.

  23. David Cherry 1

    More likely to use

    PRIGs (Propelled Recoilless Improvised Grenade)

  24. MinionZero

    Thats Bonecrusher a Decepticon!

    It really is Bonecrusher!

    Cool, I want one, but can I have it in another colour please, as I don't have much sand to hide in going to the shops. Shame really, maybe I should move near the beach, because it even comes complete with some fishing rods. :)

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Fuck yeah!

    all this needs is an injection of DARPA robocar challenge challenge magic and the RotM is properly out of the starting gate. Remember, even without guns the Oshkosh entry managed to wipe out a house on the Urban Challenge, just imagine what havoc it could wreak with autonomous firepower

  26. Mark 91


    Please put down your weapon! You have 30 SECONDS to comply!

  27. ChuckInCA

    I hope they

    show some of the testing on "Future Weapons"!

  28. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up

    I think Bullet locating radar was fielded in Northern Ireland

    About 2 decades ago.

    An early example of millimetre radar IIRC.

    What could go wrong? Johnny foreigner will never be able to crack the inter vehicle protocol.

  29. Richard 102
    Thumb Up

    Damn straight!

    Makes you proud to be an American, because let's face it, if you are going to waste taxpayers' hard-earned money, is there a cooler way to do it? On top of that, with one of these babies, it might become almost safe to drive through Detroit or Newark. (But not DC; that place is scary.)

    And think of the children? Yeah, I'll think of the children; something like this might keep the dirtbags from biking through my yard and chucking rocks at the dogs.

    Or we could bring back spanking, but no, that's cruel.

  30. Anonymous Coward


    bit of a problem if people start firing dummy RPG's at it when it's crossing a rickety old bridge.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Can I have one?

    When the time comes I want to ride it across Damnation Alley!

    The shape of it looks kind of like the shape adopted by the South Africans when they developed a similar vehicle. Driving over a mine the main blast energy passes around rather than through the hull. OK, the wheels and drivetrain can get wrecked but crew survivability goes way up which can't be a bad thing.

    Maybe they should give our boys some when there are A-10's running in the same kill-box...

    I *do* like the automatic gun-slinger kit, though.

  32. wsm

    I can see it now...

    the enemy learns how to turn on the robotic weapons with a car-alarm remote and nobody can even get into the thing.

  33. Thomas Allen

    Archimedes would be proud!

    ... to see catapults are still used 18 centuries in the future!

  34. Bounty

    dear ass clowns w/o answers

    "has just been awarded an $8m contract to fit the kit - plus "Iron Curtain" active protection - to 25 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles for "testing and evaluation"

    Step 1 . 8 mil for 25 MRAPs = 320,000 for the kit per vehicle. Also the price will go down if they build in mass quantitiy.

    Step 2 more math. The vehicle looks like it has maybe 6 troops in it. What's the cost to train 6 soldiers and replace the broken MRAP... (guessing it's not cheap)

    Step 3 future. Why keep firing rockets at vehicles you can't kill? Shooting war over.

    No offense, but this seem bad ass if it really works. Ammo's cheap, RPG's are not. I'd guess these vehilces laugh off anything that isn't shape charged as it is, so you're not going to fake them out with water baloons. Pretty soon, as long as the Govt has people driving these things and ammo, their will can't be opposed. I consider this tech to be very powerful and scary.

  35. LateNightLarry
    Paris Hilton


    I think I could even handle the morning commute in that little goodie... and if I get too tired, just park in and shut the whole highway down.

    Paris, 'cause the thing's big enough to party in...

  36. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

    @Jonathan White

    Re: If you can't stand the heat..

    So you're volunteering your country to accept unlimited Palestinian refugees?

    Re: what are you expecting as a response, harsh language?

    if the attack is with a rock, unable to injure the personnel inside, and unlikely to even scratch the paintwork, then, yes, that would be a reasonable, proportionate response. Blowing the shit out of a kid for throwing a rock rates pretty highly on the "actions liable to turn victim's friends into fanatical terrorists" scale.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ bloody idiots...

    Stone, and doves, and other slow objects wont set off the systems.

    It takes 1/10th of a second for an RPG round to hit a vehicle.

  38. David Lurie

    That's lucky

    They're really lucky it spells out a real word huh?

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    QUOTE "bit of a problem if people start firing dummy RPG's at it when it's crossing a rickety old bridge"

    Kinda like Marvin and the automated battle tank? Thanks for that memory.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    What is that?

    I can see tram wire overhead pickups. So it's electrically powered then. How's that work in the desert?

    Nice greenhouse; how's the tomato growing business coming on?

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