The US military will have more combat robots on the battlefield than human soldiers by 2025, a top British intelligence expert has claimed.
John Bassett, a security consultant with a 20-year career at GCHQ, believes deadly combat robots are rapidly becoming “a reality” of modern day warfare. The claims come as Newsline.com reports that the Pentagon has announced it’s investing millions “to develop prototypes for a combined-arms squad.”
These state-of-the art military units will consist of human soldiers and robots and are aimed at maximizing performance on future battlefields. Combat robots will rapidly become an inherent part of US fighting forces within the next 10-15 years, defense experts say.
Washington is apparently seeking to gain military edge over China, Russia and other rivals investing in research and development of robotic systems.
Mr Bassett said: “Intelligent robotic weapons – they’re a reality, and they will be much more of a reality by 2030. “At some point around 2025 or thereabouts the US Army will actually have more combat robots than it will have human soldiers.”
The former intelligence expert mentioned upcoming unmanned trucks that would drive themselves and be more effective on the road than a manned vehicle. “But some of them are rather more exciting than trucks. So we will see in the West combat robots outnumbering human soldiers,” he explained.
He’s not the only expert who believes in the rise of the robot soldier.
Peter Singer, a strategist for the New America Foundation, said armies also need to brace themselves for battle against killer machines. “It’s not just when is it going to happen, but we don’t yet know is it going to privilege the offense or defense, what are going to be the effects of it,” he said.
He suggested the Congress hold a classified hearing on where the US stands compared to our enemies on cyber warfare. “We don’t want to fall behind,” he said.
Six3 Advanced Systems was awarded the $10 million contract “to design, develop, and validate system prototypes for a combined-arms squad, which combines humans and unmanned assets,” according to a Pentagon press release. It is a subsidiary to the major American defense contractor CACI International and currently provides sensor development and signal processing technologies for the US Intelligence Community and the military, according to Bloomberg.
The statement added the next-generation system should bring “advanced capabilities in all domains to maximize squad performance in increasingly complex operational environments.”
In the meantime, Russia is also developing similar robots to match the increasingly demanding requirements of the battlefield. Its military has unveiled a number of versatile ground-based systems, including sentry drones armed with machine guns or bomb disposal robots.
Russian military strategists also believe it is the robots that will shape the future look of war. “I see a greater robotization, in fact, future warfare will involve operators and machines, not soldiers shooting at each other on the battlefield,” Lieutenant-General Andrey Grigoriev, head of the Advanced Research Foundation (ARF) said last year.
“The soldier would gradually turn into an operator and be removed from the battlefield.”