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New era of robot war may be underway unnoticed

13 Comments
By Peter Apps

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Other than miniaturization this is nothing new. There have been loitering munitions in service since the 1980s. They were first developed for SEAD, Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses. They could hang out, look for enemy radars, especially the newer Soviet systems with intermittent radars designed to thwart earlier anti-radiation missiles, and home in on the radar to destroy it. Tacit Rainbow and Harpy were the first. Once the radar set was down aircraft could take out the missile batteries. Harpy used to very good effect in the 1982 Beqaa Valley campaign. The UK operates ALARM and Fireshadow loitering munitions. Roughly 14 nations operate some form of loitering munition. Even some big cruise missiles can loiter and attack targets of opportunity. Turkey's contribution was to miniaturize them down to the size of quad copters.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Add to these the US Navy's Orca drone subs and SK auto-cannons at the DMZ. The next war might see a race to have algorithms that can operate autonomously that can outperform drone operators.

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I hope they take war to space and leave me alone.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

You, @DesertTortoise 7:38am, always have more updated, reliable info than most ‘Jane’s Information Group’ books or, even Tom Clancy (RIP) for that matter. The only reference we could find online is not entirely believable at this time… :

“Cyberdyne will become the largest supplier of military computer systems. All stealth bombers are upgraded with Cyberdyne computers, becoming fully unmanned. The system goes online August 4th. Human decisions are removed from strategic defense. Skynet learns at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th.”

… yet, possible? Or, probable?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

SkyNet for real.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When artificial intelligence, aka AI, aka robots, are able to combine autonomous design, manufacture, and killing, will human extinction be far behind? That is a fairly common science fiction scenario, and it seems plausible to me.

Imagine a pair of mice which are allowed to propagate indefinitely; their offspring can overwhelm the world. Now imagine that Turkey, North Korea, or Microsoft makes a self-replicating killing machine, and releases it onto the world. Instead of being overrun with mice, we would be fighting for our lives against robots. Once the technological ability to make such things is available, is it not inevitable that someone, somewhere, will succumb to the temptation to make a quick buck by selling them to some tin-pot dictator, who then sets them onto his perceived enemies? And what is to prevent such machines from expanding their perception of enemy to include all humans?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

> Now imagine that Turkey, North Korea, or Microsoft makes a self-replicating killing machine, and releases it onto the world.

The 'grey goo' scenario in the book Engines of Cteation by Eric Drexler. Well, a nanotech version of it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Anti-personnel and anti-vehicle landmines have been around much longer, lying in wait for unsuspecting victims sometimes decades later.

And even now a Nazi land mine or a leaflet rocket gets discovered. And in Cambodia/Kampuchea some child steps on a mine laid by either Japanese, French, North Vietnamese, VC, Khmer Rouge, American, or Communist Vietnamese forces years after these wars have come to pass.

1glennToday  09:17 am JST

When artificial intelligence, aka AI, aka robots, are able to combine autonomous design, manufacture, and killing, will human extinction be far behind? That is a fairly common science fiction scenario, and it seems plausible to me.

Imagine a pair of mice which are allowed to propagate indefinitely; their offspring can overwhelm the world. Now imagine that Turkey, North Korea, or Microsoft makes a self-replicating killing machine, and releases it onto the world. Instead of being overrun with mice, we would be fighting for our lives against robots. 

Now you're talking in 'Terminator' territory.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

yet, possible? Or, probable?

Well, there was reportedly a stealthy triangular UAS operating over Baghdad during Desert Storm lazing targets for the F-117. Some call it TR-1, but that might be a mis-pronounciation of "Tier-1". In any event the Chair Force has not acknowledged that such a UAS ever existed but there are eyewitnesses that say otherwise. More recently the Chair Force acknowledged something called the RQ-180 exists but nothing more. It appears to have grown out of an early research program with the Navy called the Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems. The Navy wanted something that would fit a carrier deck that became the X-47B and later the RQ-25. Meanwhile the Zoomies wanted something larger with greater payload and longer range and their program went dark until Congress tried to force them to keep building RQ-4s. The Air Force told Congress it wanted to spend the money on something that can penetrate the best defended or "denied" airspace, something a Global Hawk is incapable of. The resulting aircraft is supposedly close to the size and shape of a B2 and unmanned.

All the open source press releases for the upcoming B-21 Raider, the first of which is being built in Palmdale right now, suggest it will be "optionally manned".

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You, @DesertTortoise 7:38am, always have more updated, reliable info than most ‘Jane’s Information Group’ books or, even Tom Clancy (RIP) for that matter

Many moons ago I had the pleasure of sitting in on a brief by the IAF on the Beqaa Valley Campaign. It included every single engagement, the engagement parameters and weapons employed. The best one as an F-16 pilot who bombed an SA-6 site and as he climbed up a Syrian MiG came into view. He activated a Sidewinder, got a tone (meaning the IR seeker was locked) and shot the MiG down. Then one of our pilots asked the briefer if the pilot had intimate relations (can't use the actual word used) that night. We roared with laughter.

I have also met Victor Belenko and some FSB/KGB defectors. It is interesting to hear their views of the US and you would be amazed to hear a former KGB Colonel tell an audience that "America is the last best hope for the world". For as screwed up as the US often seems there is much good and without the US the world would descend into hell.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

military mags during the Obama era released a traced outline of the newest technological jet for future wars. That's all the details that were given. Some fighter jets are announced before they make their combat debut, others not. The SR-17 was first used in the 1986 Libya War. The B-2 was revealed in 1989 and first used in the Kosovo War of 1999. There's always innovations going on.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The SR-17 was first used in the 1986 Libya War.

??? SR-17? 1986 Libya War? Do you mean Operation El Dorado Canyon? That was fought with F-111s from RAF Lakenheath UK and US Navy A-6s, A-7s and some early model F/A-18s from aircraft carriers in the Med.

If you mean the SR-71 that airplane has been flying missions since the very early 1960s. There is one sitting on display in Palmdale that's older than my wife (which earned a tart comment from her upon seeing this "and what was Mao doing when the US was doing this?" implying he was busy torturing her family). The longest range SR-71 mission on the books was flown from Beale AFB in California to Egypt and Israel during the 1973 war hoping to catch some Eqyptian equipment out in the open that they were hiding whenever a satellite passed overhead. They took missile fire from both the Egyptians and the Israelis on that mission as the Israelis had no idea the US had launched that mission and didn't know the identity of the aircraft. They thought it could be a Russian MiG-25. All of this information is available on open sources. I have a t-shirt from the era depicting an F-14 over Libya with the words "Good morning Mr. Kadaffi, this is your wake up call". I only wish I still fit it!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

military mags during the Obama era released a traced outline of the newest technological jet for future wars. That's all the details that were given. Some fighter jets are announced before they make their combat debut, others not. The SR-17 was first used in the 1986 Libya War. The B-2 was revealed in 1989 and first used in the Kosovo War of 1999. There's always innovations going on.

I don't think anyone doubts the US has designed, tested, built and flown aircraft that have never been publicly acknowledged. They remain official secrets. Example, the helicopter used in the Bin Laden raid. What would be interesting to know is how much America's several adversaries know or are guessing about them. How good is their intel?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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