Marine Corps Planning for Wars Where Robots Kill Each Other

todaySeptember 16, 2022

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Marine leaders are laying out a extra detailed and concrete imaginative and prescient for the usage of unmanned platforms and drones that features issues like robot-driven provide traces and robotic fight within the wake of the massive maritime train within the Pacific.

Talking to reporters from Protection One throughout a panel Thursday, Brig. Gen. Joseph Clearfield, the Corps’ deputy commander for its Pacific forces, defined that leaders are ” … a future the place we’re in a position to make use of robots within the deadly mission.”

“I feel we’re having the ability to use them for missions to carry them way more in danger after which use robots to destroy different robots,” Clearfield mentioned. “That’s the place our experimentation has taken us.”

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The Marine Corps’ high officer, Gen. David Berger, went even additional and defined that he sees a future the place unmanned and robotic automobiles make up a part of the logistics chain that might preserve Marine models provided whereas they battle on distant islands.

Berger defined that, in his view, unmanned platforms will quickly permit Marines “to conduct tactical and operational logistics … as a result of you probably have the information, you already know the place the models are, it is monitoring, it may know the place sure issues are wanted at a sure time limit and geography sooner or later.”

“The gas, the munitions could be moved to them to satisfy them there on the proper place and time, all autonomously,” Berger defined.

Ever for the reason that Marine Corps started to pivot from its Conflict on Terror orientation as an “elite counterinsurgency pressure” to at least one that locations better emphasis on its amphinbious roots and island-hopping ways, there has additionally been a better give attention to how Marines on these islands could be provided.

Drones now seem like taking a better position in these plans.

“Our commandant has talked about utilizing them to maneuver logistics … petroleum, oil and lubricants, freshwater, munitions,” Clearfield mentioned.

Berger additionally talked about plans to make the most of unmanned and autonomous automobiles to move wounded troops. He put ahead a situation that concerned a “helicopter that flies in to select you up.”

“There could also be medics, corpsmen behind that car or behind that plane, however no one’s flying,” he added.

Regardless of the grand plans that leaders are laying out, most of the capabilities which can be at the moment being advised haven’t been developed or examined.

Through the latest Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) train — a biennial, multi-country occasion held in Hawaii and San Diego that’s billed as the most important on this planet — there have been solely 4 prototype unmanned floor vessels among the many 38 ships. In keeping with a Navy press launch, the 4 drones had been “carrying payloads, offering intelligence, and most importantly, gathering information in a real-world atmosphere.”

The Marine Corps has continued to develop its arsenal of MQ-9 Reaper drones, however even Berger admits “it isn’t a brand new platform.” He sees it as paving the best way for greater capabilities down the street.

But, even when the expertise develops as leaders hope, there are different points to iron out. For instance, the latest tried theft of three of the Navy’s drone ships by Iran has raised questions in regards to the efficacy and safety of the platforms.

Plus, Congress hasn’t signed as much as pay for the brand new expertise but. Final 12 months, lawmakers nixed the Navy’s plan to purchase extra drone ships over considerations the platforms had been unproven and the service had not laid out sufficient of a method.

A committee aide advised reporters final 12 months, “In the event you have a look at [the Navy’s] acquisition technique, there’s actually no hole between what they’re calling these prototype ships and after they go into precise serial manufacturing.

“We do not imagine that is a sound technique,” the aide mentioned, including that lawmakers had been anxious a couple of repeat of the now-controversial littoral fight ship program.

— Konstantin Toropin could be reached at Observe him on Twitter @ktoropin.

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todaySeptember 16, 2022

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