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Robotics Hardware

Robot Jet Fighter Takes First Flight 119

Posted by Roblimo
from the look-ma-no-hands dept.
lysdexia writes "The X-47B is a Tailless Flying Robotic Overlord, which requires neither puny human pilot nor extraneous remote control. First flight was 29 minutes, climbing to a height of 5000 ft. Next step: landing on aircraft carrier."
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Robot Jet Fighter Takes First Flight

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  • welcome our new stealth overlords.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by WarmNoodles (899413)

      Yes because this is /. and we all have aging robotic overlords in need of a tech refresh

    • by Doctor Faustus (127273) <Slashdot&WilliamCleveland,Org> on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @08:07PM (#35144902) Homepage

      I would, if only I could find them.

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by WarmNoodles (899413)

        Obligatory, That's what she said.

      • Cowardice rises to the next level: another robot to replace the job of having some consequences to war.

        Practicality replacing all that honor warrior crap - makes you wonder just how fat and lazy the future military will become; aside from an increased level of cowardice due to those types thriving...

        The direction of all of this is not good; we are going to be the real problem long before the machines are able to take over. Will China rule the world by remote drone and hackers? These machines need to be bann

        • Cowardice rises to the next level: another robot to replace the job of having some consequences to war.

          Practicality replacing all that honor warrior crap - makes you wonder just how fat and lazy the future military will become; aside from an increased level of cowardice due to those types thriving...

          Are you saying that a nation as rich and powerful as the U.S. should not expend the resources to better protect their military personnel in combat? They shouldn't investigate technology that increases force effectiveness while reducing exposure to counter-strikes? They shouldn't field weapons that could deter a potential adversary from engaging in battle?

          Cowardice? If that's what you think then by all means let's take away all those assault rifles from the infantry and make them fight with swords and bo

          • by EEPROMS (889169)
            Although I do find the term "cowardice" wrong at the same time the bussdriver was partly correct. One of the benefits of people dying in wars is it re-enforces the basic rule that "war is stupid and you never win even when you think you have". Losses in a war makes the elites stand back and think, hmm can we talk first because if we start losing soldiers their families are not going to like it. With an automated war there is nothing stopping the political elites from going on a slaughter fest of imperialism
          • Just to fill in a few points the others haven't:

            A coward who can hide from the risk of consequences/accountability is potentially more dangerous - at minimum it allows more people to get involved who didn't have the courage previously. We are fostering cowardice under the guise of protecting the troops. BTW I've not heard a Pakistani who doesn't think we are cowards for exclusively using drones recklessly with disregard for their innocent lives over our soldiers (who are not innocent.)

            Since a lot of people

        • by MrKaos (858439)

          Cowardice rises to the next level: another robot to replace the job of having some consequences to war.

          I wish I had mod points.

          Practicality replacing all that honor warrior crap

          The honour from war was lost when politicians started taking our foreign loans to bankroll conflict. It used to be that when there was a war *everyone* made sacrifices. Now war is seen as a reality TV program where one nation beats the crap out of another nation. As long as the US military budget is as big as the rest of the worlds

          • by profplump (309017)

            Nations have been taking foreign loans to go to war since before man invented the gun. And the USA wouldn't exist if the rebels here didn't get massive military and financial assistance from France, Netherlands, etc. during the revolutionary war.

            If automation in warfare leads to cowardice shouldn't you also be railing against the machine gun? Real, brave warriors should have to load their musket one bullet at a time. Or maybe guns themselves are a sign of cowardice -- real men wouldn't attack from a distanc

            • by MrKaos (858439)

              Nations have been taking foreign loans to go to war since before man invented the gun. And the USA wouldn't exist if the rebels here didn't get massive military and financial assistance from France, Netherlands, etc. during the revolutionary war.

              France had a vested interest in America defeating the British. At the time *they* were a superpower and America was the revolutionary force they could use to propagate their own agenda in exactly the same way America trained Afgans against the Soviets. Tell me what

            • by tehcyder (746570)

              And the USA wouldn't exist if the rebels here didn't get massive military and financial assistance from France,

              Oh, the fucking irony.

      • I would, if only I could last long enough to welcome them.

    • I anticipate that the next headline will be something like: Robot Jet Fighter Takes Over World
      • Don't get me wrong the plane is very nice but average geeks have been doing this with rc planes for ages. Do a diy drone search or look for audriopiolt and they can do much cooler tricks than this (take off; land; loop to loop, barrel rolls, you name it) all on its own if you want. It couldn't fit a warhead in it or go as fast or as far but its all the same theory. When this thing can take down a human in dog fight then I might be impressed.
    • by sanman2 (928866)

      In Stealth We Trust

      http://www.impawards.com/2005/posters/stealth.jpg [impawards.com]

  • Not a Jet Fighter (Score:5, Informative)

    by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @08:00PM (#35144832)

    Nor is it as other websites have called it, a bomber.

    X-47 is pure experimental but does have a weapons bay that could theoretically hold two 1000 pound JDAMs. Were a production plane made out of this it would be an MQ - multi-role (M) unmanned aircraft system (Q) or AQ - attack (A) unmanned aircraft system (Q).

    It doesn't carry nor is it currently designed to carry an M-61 gatling gun, which every current F designated US aircraft has, nor does it have any missile capable hard points.

    And yea, the F-117A is misdesginated too.

    • Re:Not a Jet Fighter (Score:5, Interesting)

      by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @08:07PM (#35144898)

      Very true. But once the avionics and autonomous flight systems are tuned, building and flying fighter and bomber UAVs is going to be cake. Kids going through the pilot pipeline now are probably some of the last armed forces pilots who will do so.

      Now, before you huff and say, "No way will software and electronic kit replace people wholesale in military aircraft!", I'd think about it a bit. I was able to watch a UAV dock, refuel, and detach from a KC-130 tanker ~7 months ago, with no human intervention. Refueling? Check. Carrier takeoffs/landings? Almost here. You can have some pretty amazing flight characteristics when you don't have to support the human body in flight.

      • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

        Yep, F-35 series is going to be the last US manned fighter program I suspect.

        Future will probably be F-22s, AESA equipped F-15/16/18s, F-35s acting as the master control for drones.

        Need a SAM net taken out? Launch 20 drones and one or two control aircraft to designate targets and let them loose.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I think the concept of master fighter / drone is correct, but I think the numbers are off. Probably more like 1/4 or even 1/2. The fundamental problem is that despite how good you can make a UAV at any particular task or set of tasks it lacks the inherent flexibility of a human operator. If you start looking at more challenging opponents and seriously contested airspace, UAVs suddenly become a lot less attractive. Try going to war with a UAV with
          - No GPS
          - No satellite communications
          - Jammed long range d

      • by hitmark (640295)

        I wonder if the real issue will be liability for "blue on blue" events.

        • by jittles (1613415)

          I wonder if the real issue will be liability for "blue on blue" events.

          Would the soviets have called this a red on red?

          • by Kyont (145761)

            In Capitalist America, robot plane shoots down fellow robot planes. In Soviet Russia, it's the other way around.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        The problem is that UAVs is that they need to make decisions independently in a combat situation and that is hard even for a human pilot.

        For your basic "go here, blow this up" missions cruise missiles are fine. You only need a UAV if you want to do surveillance or attack moving targets. The latter is particularly difficult if you can't rely on sending video back to a human. The UAV has to identify the target, make sure it isn't friendly and then figure out how best to attack it, all while avoiding being sho

    • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @08:09PM (#35144922)

      If I recall correctly, the F-4 originally mounted no guns. When it was offered to the Israelis, they had to demand that they be incorporated into the planes slated for them. In action in Viet Nam, American pilots also learned how stupid this concept was, and remedial action was taken.

      • The F4 was originally a bomber-intercept aircraft. Dogfighting was thought to be a relic of the past in the new guided missile age.
      • Re:Not a Jet Fighter (Score:4, Informative)

        by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @08:44PM (#35145250)

        F-4 was originally going to be four 20mm cannons, then Sparrow came along and they deleted the single internal cannon.

        Vietnam showed that Sparrow wasn't that effective at long range and Sidewinder had too limited of engagement envelope so by the F-4D in 1967 they carried an external gun pod, and the F-4E had an internal M-61 cannon in '68/69.

        The models Israel got were the F-4E which already had the cannons.

        • by hyades1 (1149581)

          Thanks for the info. Maybe it was machine guns they insisted on (which would have been available with the pod add-on). I remember reading about the situation in passing as part of some research I did on the evolution of air war.

          • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

            No problem.

            From my reading about the IDF AF between the Six Day and '73 war, I think they were supposed to get podded F-4Ds from the Johnson administration but when Nixon took office they were able to upgrade the order to F-4Es with internal M-61s.

            I wanna say they also ordered the SUU-16 and SUU-23 gun pods for strafing to strap onto F-4Es in place of the drop tank.

            The IDF AF did alot of airfield and road strafing missions in the War of Attrition and '73 war.

      • by Nimey (114278)

        I believe the Air Force's F-4E was the only Phantom model that carried an internal cannon; none of the Navy or Marine variants ever carried one, except in an external pod.

      • by rhook (943951)

        If I recall correctly, the F-4 originally mounted no guns. When it was offered to the Israelis, they had to demand that they be incorporated into the planes slated for them. In action in Viet Nam, American pilots also learned how stupid this concept was, and remedial action was taken.

        And this is how Top Gun was born.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Adding weapons isn't a problem. Weight considerations aside, this thing can (and will ) be a weapon.

      I don't like the idea of unmanned drones or automatic anything. I'm a big fan of the military technology and using weapons to bring about peace.

      What I don't like is when we remove ourselves from living close to the bone. War is ugly, awful and at times necessary. When we see the cost of war and the bloodshed men will find ways to avoid it. Any enemy who has seen the wasteland of fallen soldiers knows

      • by hedwards (940851)

        That's the thing, it's not really war if people aren't in harms way. While it would be nice to settle things over an arm wrestling match or similar, the reality is that this sort of thing isn't really going to satisfy the people that demand war because it doesn't really allow for medals to be awarded in any particularly meaningful sense.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by badboy_tw2002 (524611)

        Don't worry, there will still be a wasteland of fallen soldiers, just mixed in with more regular people.

      • Re:Not a Jet Fighter (Score:4, Interesting)

        by cshotton (46965) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @08:58PM (#35145384) Homepage

        As it turns out, the real problem on these platforms is power generation. With synthetic aperture radars, flight control systems, on-board mission management systems, laser designators, EO sensors, and LOS and BLOS/satellite comms gear on board, the problem of supplying electricity for all the systems becomes critical.

        I worked on the original J-UCAS program which transitioned from DARPA to the Navy, and designing the autonomous flight and mission management systems was the easier part of the problem. Creating the comm infrastructure (software defined radios), the operational procedures, the peer-to-peer cooperation, and mundane stuff like dealing with air traffic control turn out to be much harder in practice.

        Definitely one of the coolest projects I have ever worked on and I'm glad to see one of the J-UCAS derived UAVs finally getting into the air.

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          As it turns out, the real problem on these platforms is power generation.

          Can't any turbine engine basically be designed to produce as much of its output as electricity as you like?

    • by geekoid (135745)

      F designation simple means its a fighter. Fighter meaning its for air to air combat. A M-61 has nothing to do with it. Having a machine gun has nothing to do with it.

      Since most air-air combat will happen far outside any practical use of the a M-61
      Guns in a modern fighter is a complete waste of money.
      Combat will be done in far to many miles apart to make it worth while.

      and no, the F-117A is not an incorrect designation. It's a fucking combat fighter by design.

      • Re:Wrong (Score:4, Informative)

        by shutdown -p now (807394) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @08:34PM (#35145130) Journal

        Guns in a modern fighter is a complete waste of money.

        This has been said several times since WW2, and every time they tried to follow up on the idea, they ended up putting the gun back in. AA missiles are not the be-all and end-all.

        • If you look at the AA role, you might have a point, but what are the chances of us seeing Air to Air engagements this day in age? Maybe in the opening moves before one side's airbases are decimated from cruise missile/drone attacks. Most of the combat today is air to ground. And in that role Guns still have their place. There have several instances where F-15's and F-16's have used their guns for danger close strafing runs in Afghanistan where allied troops were too close to the enemy for bombs.

          I've rea

          • by radtea (464814)

            If you look at the AA role, you might have a point, but what are the chances of us seeing Air to Air engagements this day in age?

            If you aren't prepared for them?

            One hundred percent.

      • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

        Despite that, all US manned fighters have an internal 20mm cannon. The Russians include a cannon in their new fighter/attack, Eurofighter Typhoon has the option for one, the Koreans have one in the T-50, the French have a cannon in their fighters and attack, the Chinese include a cannon, even the Swedes have a cannon in the JAS 39. I guess all of them missed the memo on a cannon being obsolete.

        F-117A didn't have one, but it's now retired so it remains true that all US fighters have a cannon. F-117 wasn't a

      • by mosb1000 (710161)

        Guns in a modern fighter is a complete waste of money.

        That's been said before, and proven wrong every time. Sometimes, you need a gun. You wouldn't say that since most ground combat happens out of knife range, soldiers do not need to be equipped and trained with knives, but that's basically what you've said here. You want to be equipped for as many situations as is reasonably possible. Needing a gun on a fighter is a real possibility, so you want to be able to equip your planes with them.

  • oh i think sarah corner is now making a phone call to.. huh what th@#$ ... [connection timed out]

  • Errors (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @08:03PM (#35144868) Homepage Journal

    1. Carrier trials are not until 2013 so they are not "next".
    2. This isn't a fighter it is an attack aircraft or a bomber. Actually a light bomber but then the F-117 Stealth Fighter was not a fighter but also a bomber and or attack aircraft.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      1. Carrier trials are not until 2013 so they are not "next".
      2. This isn't a fighter it is an attack aircraft or a bomber. Actually a light bomber but then the F-117 Stealth Fighter was not a fighter but also a bomber and or attack aircraft.

      Re your #2 If you want to be pedantic X-47B is none of the above. It is purely a demonstrator being used to prove we can: create a stealthy unmanned system (tailless), land an unmanned system on a carrier, land a tailless design on a carrier (stability and massively different lift/glide coefficients are an issue), operate an unmanned aircraft in one of the most involved and unforgiving environments there is (carrier deck), and many other 'firsts' that have never been tried let alone accomplished before. Tea

      • by LWATCDR (28044)

        I thought it had a weapons bay. And no disrespect to the project just the write up and the summary saying "next a carrier landing".
        My guess is that you guys will do the same process as a manned aircraft more or less. Long before you do carrier trials you will do a full set of flight tests and then trials doing simulated carrier landings on a runway just like every carrier plane the US has ever flown.
        I am pretty sure that no airplane made it's second landing on a carrier but I could be wrong.

        As to At

    • "the F-117 Stealth Fighter was not a fighter"

      Of course it was (is). It was clearly designed to take out strategic bombers by stealthily flying above them and dropping Walleye bombs on them. If not the Air Force would have corrected the designation by now.

  • Quick, get me Edward James Olmos and the chick from Dances with Wolves before the darn things rebel and evolve.
    • by Nadaka (224565)

      Impossible! That jet was struck by lightning.

      Everyone knows that real stealth aircraft are not rated for operating in the rain because its skin would be damaged.

  • I would imagine that s group of some later version of the bird could fly cover for a single (remote or actual) piloted aircraft. That strategy would insinuate human judgement into the mission, while freeing the robots to do what they need to within those restrictions. Of course, hijacking the flight of robots would then require only gaining control over the piloted craft and changing the mission definition. When do we start seeing these things in movies?

  • I for one, do NOT welcome our flying robot overlords. The land-based robot overlords are much more effective.

  • If that's the case, it's time to get the hell off the planet/outta Dodge.

  • by Spikeles (972972) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @08:31PM (#35145102)

    From there, robotic jet fighters could prove to be valuable assets in a modern military that is increasingly automating its approach to war.

    Dont say we didn't warn you [wikipedia.org].

    • by jfengel (409917)

      Oh, man. People remember the epically bad episodes, like The Savage Curtain or Spock's Brain or The Omega Glory. But we always just gloss over the plain old dumb ones, like "The Lights of Zetar" or "The Alternative Factor" or "A Taste of Armageddon".

      TOS... I do love it, but oh, some days it's tough love.

      Thank you for dredging that out of the dark recesses of my brain.

  • The F/A-18E/F is a very capable fighter/bomber.
    The F-35 is not a big enough leap in capability to warrant the price tag and not as stealthy as originally advertised.
    UCAVs are the future.

    • The F/A-18E/F is a very capable fighter/bomber.

      The biggest virtue of the Super Hornet is that it's cheap and has a larger payload and more range than the older versions of the Hornet. As a fighter, it's a dog. It's slower, has less zip, less acceleration, and less maneuverability than older Hornets. The F/A-18C pilots that flew against them during trials actually said they felt sorry for them. In the fleet, Tomcat vets call them "Not So Super Hornets". Again, the biggest virtue is the price tag... $50 million apiece, which is a bargain for modern fighte

  • Missiles... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sirsnork (530512) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @08:49PM (#35145298)

    Heres a question for anyone in the know.

    Given there no longer needs to be a meatsack in the chair, whats stopping UAV's from being able to literally dodge incoming fire (RPG's, missles etc)?

    As long as they could be detected they could theoritically be dodged and destroyed given the ability of being able to do very high G's in a turn.

    • by mbkennel (97636)

      "whats stopping UAV's from being able to literally dodge incoming fire (RPG's, missles etc)?"

      A RPG isn't going to hit a UAV. A purpose-designed anti-aircraft missile has a very high thrust to weight ratio, higher than any jet-propelled aircraft. It will always be more maneuverable, though with limited range. It's not clear that a very tight turn radius is going to help tremendously.

      Actual anti-aircraft missiles don't have to physically touch the aircraft to detonate, unlike a video game. In fact, they wo

    • by Wyatt Earp (1029)

      Sensors, software and the fact that missiles explode a fair distance away and they tend to be just as good at following an airplane and destroying them as an airplane is at getting away from them.

      Like Starstreak from the UK. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starstreak_missile [wikipedia.org]
      It goes Mach 3.5, so about twice as a fast as current generation fighters/attack, and launches three mini missiles.

      "The three sub-munitions fly in a formation about 1.5 meters in radius, and have enough kinetic energy to maneuver to meet

    • Re:Missiles... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by lelitsch (31136) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @09:29PM (#35145660)

      Physics!

      First off all, nobody is going to shoot down a UAV with an RPG, unless it is hovering at very low altitude. If you got this idea from Black Hawk down, the helicopters got shot down while they were basically hovering at roof level. A small plane going a few hundred mph is impossible to hit.

      The physics part comes in, because a small missile with lower mass, much higher thrust to weight ratio and much smaller control surfaces can pull much higher g's than anything with large wings. A F-16 can pull around 9G before things start coming off, this might be able to do 15, a light AA or SA missile can pull 20-50.

      So yeah, it might out-turn more than a manned plane, but not a missile.

      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        A F-16 can pull around 9G before things start coming off ....

        Ummm... no.
        IIRC, the G-rating of an airframe is usually 2/3s the designed structural fatigue limit.
        To be clear, the fatigue limit just means "repeatedly doing this will cause something to fail eventually"
        This isn't the same as "doing this will cause things to fall off right now"

        Of course, there's all kinds of qualifiers about fuel and ordnance loadout,
        but for the sake of brevity I'm presuming the plane has minimal fuel and nothing mounted.
        Otherwise, you can tear parts off a fully loaded plane just by doing

  • http://www.theonion.com/articles/bored-predator-drone-pumps-a-few-rounds-into-mount,10159/

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @08:51PM (#35145314) Journal

    The aircraftâ(TM)s sleek tailless design will make it harder to spot on radar, but proves a unique challenge for an unmanned aerial system (UAS).

    Last I checked, all the kinks had been worked out of the blended wing design by the time the the B-2 bomber was built.
    It was pretty much a matter of throwing enough computing power at a fly-by-wire system to make the craft stable.
    And we managed to accomplish this with 80s technology.

    I may be speaking out of ignorance, but I can't really see what "unique challenge" is created by a tailless design and can't be solved with 21st century computing power.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Story missed a key term. It is a unique challenge for a carrier landing. B-2 and other air force craft have a (comparatively) endless runway to play with. Being so slippery and having no tail control authority makes things tricky for the high speed / high angle of an arrested carrier landing.

      If you go to the video contained in the press release and watch the landing it would be considered 'soft' by Navy standards but make an Air Force pilot wince a little - that is because they were intentionally splitting

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Tails stability it 'supposedly' compensated for by "directed thrust" controlled by a movable aperture and vectored thrust nozzle. In effect a jet exhaust nozzle that can change size shape and direction jet-gas exhaust/thrust(plasma) heats of several thousands of degrees in microsecond time steps over a variety or aperture sizes ( like afterburners), and thrust angles .

    • by DesScorp (410532)

      The unique challenge isn't the stealth part.It's building a truly robotic carrier aircraft. The difference between this and other UAV's isn't just that it can take off and land from carriers. This plane will eventually be fully robotic, with pre-programmed missions instead of a remote control pilot sitting in a trailer with a joystick and a monitor. This is meant to be a launch-and-forget warplane.

  • Don't these guys EVER watch movies...Dumb...Where's John Connor when you need him...
  • by Anachragnome (1008495) on Tuesday February 08, 2011 @09:30PM (#35145668)

    Programmers--Ultimately responsible.

    As with any programming, there is the distinct likelihood of bugs--hell, more of an expectation.

    I guess that makes every person on the ground beta testers? Still going to rely on the release-and-patch model?

    • Programmers--Ultimately responsible.

      As with any programming, there is the distinct likelihood of bugs--hell, more of an expectation.

      I guess that makes every person on the ground beta testers? Still going to rely on the release-and-patch model?

      You can also put it through a lot more testing than you can a human -- unit testing, simulation testing, fuzz testing, stability testing -- and all of it can be done in parallel. Sure, you're still going to be going through the study-design-test-release model, but to run around saying "bugs are inevitable" and "UAVs are a menace because programmers can create bugs" is to ignore a whole fucking lot of safety standards and tests that are (or can be) put in place.

  • Original Top Gun on Nintendo Champion here. If they need help landing on the aircraft carrier, I'd be happy to lend my services.
  • Is it just me, or does anyone else hear Starbuck staying "Oh Frak, here we go again!"?
  • when the robots rise up and overthrow their human masters, they'll have some pretty effective weapons.

  • This plane can potentially fly in scary, unbelievable ways. It is too bad a full demo will give away too much. I wonder what the minimum turning radius is for a plane moving a Mach 2. Exciting!

    -Todd

    • by dutchd00d (823703)

      Assuming level flight:

      R = v^2 / (g * sqrt(G^2 - 1))

      R: turn radius in m
      v: speed in m/s
      g: acceleration due to gravity (~9.8 m/s^2)
      G: g-load factor (standard gravity = 1)

      Physics! Is there anything it can't do?

  • If the Navy does manage to deploy UAV with more capabilities, they would have to re-think the role of carriers, you would think I new generation of destroyer type warships capable of launching UAV would be a feasible option to project airpower using UAV.
  • The polish SF writer Stanislaw Lem has predicted the evolution of warfare we're observing today as far back as 1986 [std.com]:

    The really interesting essay of the three, and the one with the greatest connection to the rest of Lem's work, is the middle one, "The Upside-Down Evolution." Lem announces that, by unspecified means, he's gotten hold of "a military history of the twenty-first century," and proceeds to describe the advent and evolution of warfare by micro- and nano-robots.

    It's been some time since I read it, b

    • by radtea (464814)

      The polish SF writer Stanislaw Lem has predicted the evolution of warfare we're observing today as far back as 1986

      Even earlier: "The Invincible" was a fictional account of the endgame of the same process of using the technology of prosperity to fight the wars of scarcity, and it was published in English in 1973, and in Polish in 1964.

      Lem is mostly ignored because he makes it impossible for ignorant idiots to claim there's anything new or interesting about their tired old recycled ideas. I've been seeing people claim "synthetic insects" as a "brilliant new idea" from at least the mid-80's, at which time it was at leas

  • Most of the time people say robot when they mean unmanned/remote control. A land mine is more robotic than the Predator. Someone flies the Predator and fires its weapons. A land mine does what it does without human intervention, that's a robot.

    An IR missile is a robot. The "bots" in battle WERE NOT ROBOTS. They were remote controlled cars with armor and weapons.

    Even if this thing takes off, lands and cruises on it's own, it's a robot for only those functions. When it can pick it's own targets and fire

  • The X47 is good, but the X-48 has many uses. Interestingly, the X-47 is similar to X-48. Hopefully, we can speed up X-48 by using the same electronics for testing purposes.
  • ...and I think it has signal lock.
  • Looks like they're a little behind schedule developing the Ghost X-9. I do think that I saw Sharon Apple giving a concert last year, though.

  • I hope, when they start numbering them, that they don't assign the number 5 to one of them.

    (Sorry, the stealth trailer at the bottom of the article just looked like a rip off to me)

  • For all your automated killing needs. Now with 20% more contempt for human life!

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