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1/27/2014
02:36 PM
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Prepare For Robotic Warfare, Warns CNAS

Unmanned systems and rise of guided munitions could threaten US military's dominance, according to a report by the Center for a New American Security.

DARPA tests Big Dog quadruped robot. (Source: DARPA)
DARPA tests Big Dog quadruped robot.
(Source: DARPA)

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Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
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1/27/2014 | 4:20:54 PM
vulnerabilities?
How well will such robots be shielded against electronic attacks that fry their circuits? When the robots come, I expect it won't be long before high-energy microwave weapons render them inoperable.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
1/28/2014 | 11:56:35 AM
Re: vulnerabilities?
You have to wonder about the hacking possibilities, too. The security challenges here are cutting edge.
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
1/28/2014 | 12:01:25 PM
Re: vulnerabilities?
I agree. High-energy microwave weapons are the big unsung military story. This sort of attack fries most sorts of IC's caught in their path, with the possible exception of Gallium-Arsenide. That's fried, destroyed, and not temporarily disabled. Given the potential of this type of weapon, it's absolutely amazing how little it is talked about.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
1/29/2014 | 9:12:45 AM
Re: vulnerabilities?
I've thought about this as well.  Then I realized how many airborne drones we have over other countries that should have enough technology to bring one down and we don't hear about that happening.  Part of the strategy is to keep the robots out of harms way the same we do with soldiers not actively engaged in fighting.  I think another reason we haven't seen high energy microwave weapons used is the whole high energy part.  It's not like they are going to retrofit radar towers to shoot down drones and it would be a game of cat and mouse.  If a drone spots a truck aiming at it chances are the truck will disappear before the drone falls from the sky.
Drew Conry-Murray
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Drew Conry-Murray,
User Rank: Ninja
1/29/2014 | 10:01:29 AM
Re: vulnerabilities?
This report sounds like it was sponsored by defense contractors: robots are expensive, therefore we need lots more of them! Otherwise the military balance will be disrupted. What military balance? According to this story in the Washington Post, the United States spent more on the military budget in 2011 than the next 13 countries combined. Cuts have been made since, but our military expenditures still put us far ahead of any potential opponent.
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Author
1/29/2014 | 4:47:52 PM
Re: vulnerabilities?
There's an old joke that when NASA astronauts discovered pens didn't work in zero-gravity environments, engineers spent $2 million (unconfirmed) developing a pen that finally did work.  The Russians solved the problem for less than $1 -- they used a pencil. Does the US overspend? Absolutely. Then again, that's partly because of Congressmen preserving jobs back home.  And let's not lose track of the fact that some of the advances we take for granted started because of the ability of the military to experiment.

 
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Author
1/29/2014 | 4:50:01 PM
Re: vulnerabilities?
There's an old joke that when NASA astronauts discovered pens didn't work in zero-gravity environments, engineers spent $2 million (unconfirmed) developing a pen that finally did work.  The Russians solved the problem for less than $1 -- they used a pencil. Does the US overspend? Absolutely. Then again, that's partly because of Congressmen preserving jobs back home.  And let's not lose track of the fact that some of the advances we take for granted started because of the ability of the military to experiment.

 
jgherbert
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jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
1/29/2014 | 10:32:42 PM
Re: vulnerabilities?
Haha ;-) I'll be the boring one to link to the trth behind the old joke:

 

http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp

 

There is a truth to the concept that military technology trickles down, so investment is good in theory, but figuring out where to focus funds must be a nightmare as those funds cannot be endless.

 

As mentioned earlier, there is a sight feel of being sponsored by a military vendor! ;-)
WKash
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WKash,
User Rank: Author
1/30/2014 | 7:59:28 AM
Re: vulnerabilities?
Thanks jgherbert for sharing this link.  Interesting to read something close to the original story...and how much you can't trust what you read on the Internet (in this case, one estimate that said NASA spent $12B. Talk about inflated stories.  Haha.
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