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Subject: BAE's Black Knight unmanned robotic light tank
doggtag    11/9/2007 9:15:58 PM
It appears the future is much closer than some of us might realize...
 
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doggtag       11/9/2007 9:17:21 PM

BAE?s Black Knight,

The future of AFVs?

http://www.baesystems.com/ProductsServices/l_and_a_gs_black_knight.html

 

Black Knight
http://www.baesystems.com/static/bae_cimg_la_gs_black_knight_latestReleased_bae_cimg_la_gs_black_knight_Web.jpg" width=229 border=0>

Black Knight

The BAE Systems Black Knight is an early prototype of an Unmanned Combat Vehicle. Its turret is equipped with operative components from the Bradley Combat Systems program, illustrating the synergy between the current force and the future force. As the components for robotic vehicles are designed and built, they will be substituted for these Bradley components.

The Black Knight Unmanned Combat Vehicle can be controlled from the commander's station of a Bradley, which was demonstrated at the Association of the U.S. Army's 2006 Winter Symposium and Exhibition. Gun and turret position, as well as information from the Commander's Independent Viewer (CIV), and the Improved Bradley Acquisition System (IBAS) can be seen on a screen in the Bradley Commander's Crew Station. As soldiers dismount, they take a Dismounted Control Device (DCD) along and continue to operate the Black Knight, receiving information on the single screen on the DCD.

The BAE Systems Black Knight displays the existing robotic technologies available for use by today's forces. This unmanned vehicle provides an immediate system to demonstrate advanced robotic technologies, support user development of tactical behaviors, and provide engineers a hands-on prototype to assist in their design efforts on unmanned combat systems.

The Black Knight is equipped with advanced capability - leveraging some of the proven capabilities of the Bradley by utilizing robust, available components. These components provide the demonstrator with the high lethality obtained with the first-round hit, and the ability for the turret to slew to a cue from the Commander's Independent Viewer.

Enhancements completed in 2006 include advanced robotic technology for autonomous mobility. This capability allows the Black Knight to plan routes, maneuver on the planned route, and avoid obstacles - all without operator intervention.

 

 

There are some more good pics of it over here http://www.thedonovan.com/archives/2007/11/the_whatzis_cod.html

 

 

 
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doggtag    ???   11/9/2007 9:19:08 PM
...no idea why that text came out purple!
 
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Yimmy       11/12/2007 7:38:51 PM
Thing with un-manned combat ground vehicles, that strikes me, is that they will be unworkable when using ECM to counter IED remote triggers.
 
 
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B.Smitty       11/12/2007 8:58:50 PM
Depends on the frequencies the jammers and comm systems are using. 
 
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DarthAmerica    yimmy reply   11/13/2007 2:09:09 AM

Thing with un-manned combat ground vehicles, that strikes me, is that they will be unworkable when using ECM to counter IED remote triggers.

 


Not at all. ECM technology is far beyond the kind of fratricide you are thinking of.

-DA 
 
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DarthAmerica    yimmy reply   11/13/2007 9:43:56 AM

Thing with un-manned combat ground vehicles, that strikes me, is that they will be unworkable when using ECM to counter IED remote triggers.

 


Not at all. ECM technology is far beyond the kind of fratricide you are thinking of.

-DA 
 
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Yimmy       11/13/2007 12:01:49 PM



Thing with un-manned combat ground vehicles, that strikes me, is that they will be unworkable when using ECM to counter IED remote triggers.


 



Not at all. ECM technology is far beyond the kind of fratricide you are thinking of.

-DA 


I don't know enough to dispute you, however looking to the simplist of common sense, I can't help but think if some of our remote controls can work, then so can theirs.
 
 
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doggtag    remote control (tele-operation?) thru ECM   11/13/2007 12:34:42 PM
I would think that if there are too many complications,
then the US Army would be totally screwed in its FCS applications (so I'm anticipating they took into effect the need to operate radio data networks in an ECM-contested environment).
 
So if we can successfully operate battlefield internet networks and reconnaissance video transmissions thru secured datalinks (obviously it has a lot to do with the encryption codes on said data streams),
then tele-operating an unmanned ground vehicle, be it a PackBot or a Black Knight, shouldn't be too much an issue.
 
I think the US' ECM jamming techniques used in Iraq against (primarily?) cell phone-activated IEDs may be a lot more frequency-specific, rather than just broadcasting a wide-spectrum emission that craps out every frequency used for everything from cell phone networks to TV and AM & FM radio signals to CB-type communication.
I'm assuming it's band-specific, just as the ECM pods on many tactical aircraft can be tuned to jam specific radar bands rather than disrupting the whole EM radio spectrum.
 
So with proper signal encryption, I would think that maintaining a secure datalink to remote vehicles should offer at least some limited capability even in an ECM environment.
 
Besides, if someone develops the ECM system(s) that can fudge with the US' FCS data networks, I suppose next we'll see a home-on-jam variant of NetFires (relatively short range, 30km-ish, but ready at a moment's notice), cued by numerous external sensors that trianglulate the hostile emitter(s) sending out the jamming signals.
 
Then again, I'm just winging it here because this sounds the sensible solution. I could be totally off base altogether.
 
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reefdiver       11/13/2007 1:04:09 PM



I don't know enough to dispute you, however looking to the of common sense, I can't help but think if some of our remote controls can work, then so can theirs.

 

   But that's the same even with manned weapons. As always, much will come down to tactics. You'll undoubtly see these vehicles suppored by CAS from UAV's, and always by the artillery - which is now much more flexible and faster moving itself.  You'll see larger robots carrying swarms of smaller robots etc. When has war not been about developing new tactics or at least new uses for new technology?

A comment about ECM and robotics. The vehicles electronics can be shielded, and real-time communications may not always be needed. There will be a steady march towards more and more robotic automomy. Like it or not, the genie is out of the bottle (or is that Pandora's box has been opened?). Ultimately, a mission and objective will be given, and the vehicles will carry it out - even to the point of deciding which individuals, vehicles, and buildings represent a threat and should be destroyed. 
 
Already today there is software that will detect and track humans and identify and track vehicles - and thus target them for weapons systems. How about a Stryker with a system of cameras detecting targets, sequentially presenting them to an operator quickly clicking to fire on them as fast as he can click and the CROWS system is slaved to take each one out as fast as it can with the system tracking each until the CROWS catches up? This is basically doable today. The next step would be for the system to decide if the targets are legitimate for destruction - a much tougher problem.
 
With its telescopic lens the robot may even be able to get a better "sniper quality" look at the targets than most soldiers and use this information not only for targeting but also for this kill/no kill decision making.  Even in the early stages of this type of development, the system may only phone home for the most difficult decisions.  
 
This is all scary, but definitely on the way. It cannot be stopped. It cannot be stopped by "western" morals because there are enemies out there without such hesitations who will develop it.  Will it be perfect?  I doubt it. Will it be dangerous and sometimes brutal? Certainly. But in certain conditions, thats what is needed and what war is unfortunately about. This is unfortunately what the history of man and warfare is about.
 
 
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Jeff_F_F       11/16/2007 2:48:40 PM
All of these communications systems are frequency hopping at a high number of times per second which varies depending on the system in use, which requires that both the sender and all receivers be synchronized to the frequency being used. If networks of radios can be established to transmit and receive on particular sets of rapidly changing frequencies, why can't jammers be set to NOT transmit on the same sets of rapidly changing frequencies?
 
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