How Are Robots Being Used In War?


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Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
One of the main problems with war is that people die. Even when your team's doing well. Clubs, stones, knives, arrows, tar, guns, dynamite, gas, grenades, missiles, bombs; man has tried everything. And still people keep dying.

But now we are in the future.

And in the future the one thing none of us need, for pretty much anything, is man. We do, unfortunately, still need war.

Which leads us to the quite ridiculous and rather horrifying prospect of a world where computers play each other for us. And you thought robots were cute, didn't you?
Still, thankfully, it seems we are some way away from full-scale robot warfare where man is left standing on the sidelines cheering 'Go Robot... Go Robot Go'. But it is happening. The robots are beginning to take over the asylum. And here's how:


The Armored Combat Engineer Robot (ACER) is a hardy little bulldozer with a very tough shell and a multitude of purposes. Capable of clearing and cutting obstacles with a giant cutter, sweeping and clearing mines, hauling cargo and disabled vehicles and firefighting and decontamination with the use of foam and a decontaminant tank, it is one handy robot.


The BigDog is a fairly incredible machine to witness. Rather than reading this I really recommend you just watch the film clip of it above. If you're still reading, here are some BigDog facts:

  • BigDog was invented in 2005 by Boston Dynamics as a robotic pack mule built to accompany soldiers in rough terrain and carry all their stuff
  • BigDog climbs, jumps and even recovers balance when kicked or pushed
  • BigDog is about three feet long, two and a half feet tall and weighs 240 pounds (110 kilograms), about the size of a small mule or, interestingly, a big dog
  • BigDog is capable of traversing difficult terrain at four miles per hour (six point four kilometres per hour), carrying 340 pounds (150 kilograms), and climbing a 35 degree incline
  • BigDog sets a world record for legged vehicles by traveling 12.8 miles without stopping or refueling
  • These were BigDog facts

Boeing X-45

The next generation of unmanned combat aircraft look like flying stingrays. They are completely autonomous. Not only can these floating discs land and fly all on their own, they can detect enemies, engage in combat, drop bombs, launch precision guided missiles, change course, work as a team and fly to previously undetected targets.

Remote pilots are optional.

Counter Rocket Artillery Mortar (CRAM) or R2-D2s

(warning - above clip contains excitable language!) In response to the fact that humans take way too long to make decisions, CRAM robots or R2-D2s (because they resemble the flashing little Star Wars character) were deployed in Iraq to counter incoming artillery fire. Using radar to detect rockets and mortar rounds R2-D2s automatically fire their rapid Gatling Guns at incoming targets leaving man completely out of the equation.

Dragon Runner

Dragon Runner is possibly the toughest thing on the planet. You can throw it down stairs, round corners, through windows and even out of fast-moving cars. What's more Dragon Runner always lands on its feet, or rather wheels. Either way up Dragon Runner functions perfectly as a mobile video camera broadcasting realtime images back to base. As soon as it senses something the little car sounds the alert.

Global Hawk Drone

In a similar way that you might log on to your computer, work from home, log off and then spend the evening with your children, so pilots (four in total) can fly the Global Hawk Drone, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), from an aircraft hangar thousands of miles away from a war zone, finish work and drive back to the family in time for tea.

Used primarily for surveillance the drone has an unprecedented range and airbourne loitering time. It can:
  • take off and land automatically
  • fly at a speed of over 400 miles per hour (650 kilometres per hour)
  • spend as long as 36 hours in the sky
  • fly at over 60,000 feet
  • cover a range of three thousand miles (4,828 kilometres)
The Global Hawk is over 44 feet long (13.5 metres) and has a wingspan of nearly 116 feet (35 metres).

Each Global Hawk costs about $123 million to produce.

iRobot Warrior

One of the next generation of remote military robot, the Warrior is a powerful and rugged machine capable of travelling over rough terrain, climbing stairs, disposing bombs, clearing routes, surveillance, reconnaissance and, as you can see from the clip, rescuing casualties, all while carrying payloads of over 150 pounds.

MAARS (Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System)

Offering a more lethal form of soldier support, MAARS employs the powerful M240B medium machine gun and has significant improvements in command and control, situational awareness, manoeuvrability, mobility and importantly safety than its SWORDS predecessor (see SWORDS below).

It is also something of a transformer. MAARS' mechanical arm has the ability to switch from machine gun to explosives identification and neutralisation tool.

What's more MAARS offers non-lethal options including:
  • a loudspeaker for shouting at non-compliant humans
  • a green, eye-safe, laser to dazzle people
  • riot beanbags or gas bombs launched from its 40mm grenade launcher


The Mesa Associates’ Tactical Integrated Light-Force Deployment Assembly (MATILDA) is a reconnaissance robot helping the military with its detection, disablement and deployment of explosives. The stupidly sweetly named robot is equipped with a manipulator arm, a 4-wheel trailer, larger monitor, and an upgraded radio system for extended range. If one of her treads breaks she can replace it in five minutes. Isn't she a clever little thing?


The Multi-function Agile Remote Control Robot (MARCbot) is a very small remote control truck fitted with a video camera. The camera, which is mounted on the end of an adjustable mast, allows soldiers to search for explosives from a safe distance. The size of the MARCbot means it can easily drive under suspect vehicles.


The Multifunctional Utility/Logistics and Equipment (MULE) vehicle is an autonomous unmanned 6x6 ground transporter capable of crossing all terrain. Current developments of the MULE include vehicles that will not only detect and neutralise anti-tank mines but also engage in combat. The MULE can be controlled remotely WITH A PLAYSTATION CONTROLLER!!!


So called because it can be carried in a soldier's backpack, the PackBot claims to be a miltary man's best friend. PackBot will find a way under, over or through the most difficult locations including rocks, mud, gravel, stairs, logs, bombed buildings, caves and water. It can dig, tunnel and fall from helicopters.

There are various versions of PackBots for different missions ranging from surveillance, mine clearance, reconnaissance, bomb clearance, first response, inspections, examine suspect vehicles, excavation.

One of PackBots' stand-out features is its ‘flippers’ which give the machine 360 degrees rotation and allow it to traverse all terrain. PackBot is capable of speeds up to nearly six miles per hour.


There are a number of Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) being used for surveillance, reconnaissance and the deployment of missiles and bombs. The RQ-1 Predator is able to distribute surveillance imagery from radar, video cameras and a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) in real time to soldiers on the front line or globally via satellite links.

The MQ-1 Predator comes with extra AGM-114 Hellfire missiles for a slightly more assertive mission. The MQ-9 Reaper Predator, operational in Afghanistan, can fly up to 50,000 feet and carry four Hellfire II anti-armour missiles and two laser-guided bombs (GBU-12 or GBU-12) as well as 500 pounds of direct attack munition.

Pilots are able to fly Predators remotely from simulators thousands of miles from the aircraft's deployment.


The Raven is a tiny little UAV with a big reputation.  It is launched into the air by hand much like a model aeroplane. Once airbourne the Raven can fly autonomously using GPS navigation or be controlled remotely from the ground. The Raven has three different cameras attached to the nose of the plane and a side mounted Infra Red camera providing live coverage. The Raven has between 45 and 60 minutes of battery time and lands by autopilot not requiring a landing strip. The Raven has a range of over six miles and can fly up to 15000 feet at a speed of 60mph. Plus it's small enough to keep in your rucksack.


Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Detection System (SWORDS) robots are currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. If you ever saw Short Circuit (see the trailer at the top of this answer!!) you will know the type of machine we are talking about. Built on a standard TALON (see next robot) chasis the robot can be mounted with a choice of several big guns including an M-16 rifle, machine gun, a grenade or rocket launchers capable of taking out a tank.

SWORDS have been used to secure checkpoints and conduct armed reconnaissance. Though they love to shoot they are not autonomous and still need humans to press the right buttons from a remote distance.


The TALON began life in Bosnia as a robotic mine detector and clearer. Its gripping arm could identify and neutralise roadside bombs. Now, however, the TALON is a much meaner machine. Loaded with various weapons including rocket launchers, grenade launchers and machine guns. The TALON can also function under water. Soldiers control the TALON with virtual reality goggles from distances as far as 1800 metres.
Maya Locke Profile
Maya Locke answered
Drone planes that do surveillance are robots. Robots are also being used to investigate suspicious devices.

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