Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Little Satan's Battlebots

"Sixty years of near-constant war, a low tolerance for enduring casualties in conflict, and its high-tech industry have long made Israel one of the world's leading innovators of military robotics."

Interesting piece that makes the left handed case that only fun, free functional democracies with their future militaries can create, deploy and upgrade unmanned or robotic war fighting systems - intelligent force multipliers that cannot bleed or suffer - though they can certainly make an enemy bleed and suffer.

Some of the battlebots that wicked Little Satan is currently enjoying include:

"Uunmanned ground vehicle, which now drives itself along the Gaza and Lebanese borders. The Guardium was deployed to patrol for infiltrators in the wake of the abduction of soldiers doing the same job in 2006. The Guardium, developed by G-nius Ltd., is essentially an armored off-road golf cart with a suite of optical sensors and surveillance gear. It was put into the field for the first time 10 months ago.

Protector SV:
"Unmanned, heavily armed speedboat that today makes up a growing part of the Israeli naval fleet. After bomb-laden fishing boats tried to take out an Israeli Navy frigate off the coast off Gaza in 2002, Rafael" put her into service. Even Singapore is buying them up now

"Military analysts say unmanned fighting vehicles could have a far-reaching strategic impact on the sort of asymmetrical conflicts the U.S. is fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and that Israel faces against enemies such as Hezbollah and Hamas.

"In such conflicts, robotic vehicles will allow modern conventional armies to minimize the advantages guerrilla opponents gain by their increased willingness to sacrifice their lives in order to inflict casualties on the enemy.

"However, there are also fears that when countries no longer fear losing soldiers' lives in combat thanks to the ability to wage war with unmanned vehicles, they may prove more willing to initiate conflict."

Hmmmm, that is suspect. It's the hardest thing in the world to get a democracy to go to war - even harder to keep them focused and engaged in it to win it. Though, of course the autocratic customers of free inquirey may not face such issues

"In coming years, engineers say unmanned air, sea and ground vehicles will increasingly work together without any human involvement. Israel and the U.S. have already faced backlash over civilian deaths caused by drone-fired missiles in Gaza, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"Those ethical dilemmas could increase as robots become more independent of their human masters.

Pic "The more society adheres to ethical norms, democratic values, and individual rights, the more successful a warfighter that society will be.”