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The Whatzis, coda.

Okay - what's the whatzis?

Meet the Black Knight, a semi-autonomous robot combat vehicle built as a corporate venture by BAE, and currently being evaluated as a technology demonstrator by the Army.

BAE's Black Knight.

A larger version is available here.

Here's a little context for you:

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Smaller than a Bradley, bigger than a HMMWV. And unmanned. It's controlled by a guy inside that Bradley. And has the ability to operate on it's own, in a limited fashion, for navigation. It does use many Bradley components.

Both of those elements are why that muzzle brake is bunged. It's hard to control a remote control vehicle using a TV screen.

Speaking of the gun... those of you, like Pat, who were zeroing in on 30/40mm chain guns, especially the Alliant TechSystems ones, were sniffing very close. ATK did indeed make that muzzle brake, out of aluminum, as a one-off for BAE.

The gun isn't real. It's decorative. Because the Army isn't quite ready yet for armed semi-autonomous robots that are armed and armored like that. What's that you say? SWORDS, the armed robots currently in Iraq? There's no autonomy there. They do what human controllers tell them to do - not what a software algorithm thinks might be a good idea.

Oh - and yeah, it was too out there in the wild for you to find. But now it's out there much more clearly, from a photographic standpoint.

And all you fellas should walk with your heads hanging in shame.

Because Homefront Six GOT IT!

Yew rawk, gurl!

10 Comments

Shame? I'll have you know, good sir, I HAVE NO SHAME! I'm trying to prove that here, but I guess I need to step up my game... good job, HF6!
 
Congrats HF6!! Great job.
 
So, does it have a speaker for the controller to say "None shall pass"? I mean come on, its British, and its called "The Black Night". There's a ton of jokes just waiting to happen.
 
Brad - not the least of which is... "On 25 November, 2008, at 2:15PM, Black Knight became aware..."
 
There's a scary thought... With regard to the scuffs on the muzzle brake, my first thought (back when you mentioned that scale was an issue) was that it WAS due to it running into - or BEING run into - a wall or something like that. But I was thinking more along the lines of it being used as a battering ram of sorts which didn't make any sense so I discarded the idea. Seems I was close.
 
I remember when a 1RCHA M109 driver put the muzzle brake into the back window of a German bus during an exercise in 1991. A 105mm howitzer being towed by a 5 ton on an icy road ended up upside down being dragged on the splinter shield. I was also told of a Cdn Leo turret not being properly secured and going for a few rotations during a train move and taking out some elctrical stuff(I don't know if this really happened or not). When it comes to AFV barrels being damaged, nothing really surpises me.
 
Pat, when we fielded the long-tube M109A2/3s in Germany in 1980 (the M109 tube didn't extend much past the end of the chassis, the long tube extended 5 feet past) *every* wall in the motor bays of the first battery to bring their guns in for their initial service had holes punched in the wall. The rest of us were quicker to learn...
 
I don't think Doctor Asimov would approve of this gizmo. Good thing the gun doesn't work. I mean, I hate uppity robots almost as much as I hate Illinois Nazis who are Senators from New York!
 
P.s. Just think about what happened when the Yul Brynner character malfunctioned in "Westworld."
 
Since the Army is afraid to put a real gun in this “lose cannon on the deck” robot, couldn’t we just simplify the design a bit? Just pack it full of explosives. Drive it up to Iran’s nuke plant. Then detonated it like one huge bunker buster bomb. We may have to have a number of them to ensure that few of them reach their intended target (which would guarantee a decent sized contract for BAE).