A new unmanned robot with lots of weapons will be used as soon as 2007 by the Marine Corps to control angry crowds, reports the Honolulu Advertiser from Camp Smith, Hawaii.
It looks like something out of Robocop, a mini tank-treaded terror bristling with so many cannon and guns that only a Hollywood screenwriter could have dreamed it up.
It's designed to be RoboMarine -- technically the Gladiator Tactical Unmanned Ground Vehicle -- and proponents say it would have come in handy in trouble spots ranging from Somalia, Kosovo and Bosnia to Afghanistan and Iraq.
The 4-foot-tall, 1,600-pound concept vehicle recently was demonstrated at Camp Smith, launching dozens of smoke rounds downrange that could have been tear gas, or stingball and flashbang grenades.
Here is a photography from the U.S. Marine Corps showing marines demonstrating the crowd-control capabilities of the Gladiator.
Here are some details about this demonstration.
The Camp Smith demonstration of the Gladiator was based on a scenario in which an angry mob of 600 activists in a desert city refuses to disperse.
Some individuals are armed with AK-47 machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, and the mob as a whole is between the Marines and friendlies needing aid.
When will the Gladiator be available and how much will it cost?
The Marines hope to field the Gladiators by 2007. Each infantry battalion would have three, and one would be dedicated to a combat engineer platoon.
The target cost for the Gladiator is $150,000, which Larry Hennebeck of the Unmanned Ground Vehicles Joint Project Office said is a big departure from million-dollar Army prototype attack systems.
The Marine Corps also has a story about this robot, "Gladiator flexes its muscle on Camp Smith," which carries additional photographs and details about the weaponry.
The Gladiator is loaded with all sorts of gadgets and weaponry, including day and night cameras, a chemical detection system, Light Vehicle Obscuration Smoke System, and is mounted with either M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, the M240G Medium Machine Gun, 9 mm Uzi or an Anti-Personnel/Obstacle Breaching System (APOBS).
Source: William Cole, The Honolulu Advertiser, July 7, 2003
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