In a first for the military, humans took a backseat while robots cleared obstacles for manned tanks and fighting vehicles for an exercise hailed as a “giant step for the Army and robotics,” Stars and Stripes reported.
U.S. and British troops participated in the Robotic Complex Breach Concept demonstration last Friday, when remote-controlled vehicles performed a high-risk, high-mortality task usually done by soldiers.
“We did a robotic breach today, which has never been done before. This is a historic moment,” 1st Lt. Cody Rothschild, an officer with the 1st Infantry Division’s 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, told the military news outlet.
“This is a great step forward for the Army, and for robotics.”
The rotational armor brigade was the main armor element during the exercise as remote-controlled U.K. Terrier engineering vehicles cleared a simulated minefield and bridged a tank trench.
The Terriers were controlled by British soldiers several hundred feet away, inside U.S. Bradley Fighting Vehicles.
The operation is one of the most dangerous tasks on a battlefield, British Warrant Officer Robert Kemp told Stars and Stripes.
“Any breach like this will have enemy weapons trained in on the area,” Kemp said. “Roboticizing breach operations takes away the risk of life and makes clearing enemy obstacles much safer.”
And for Pvt. Jonathan Ramirez, an engineer, the robots “keeps us safe from being out there like sitting ducks.”
Platoon leader 1st Lt. Felix Derosin said the casualty rate for a breach “is expected to be 50 percent.”
“Being able to take our guys away from that, and have some robots go in there, is a very positive thing for us,” he told the news outlet. “In the future, this can save engineers’ lives.”
Besides the Terriers, the troops used other roboticized systems, such as an unmanned M113 armored personnel carrier, to deliver walls of thick, white smoke to help cloak the operation, Stars and Stripes reported.
The drill also employed several models of drones to gather intelligence and to search for possible chemical weapons.
“When I first came in, I didn’t expect to be seeing robots doing [combat operations] like this,” he told Stars and Stripes. “Being able to see it, eyes on, shows me what the future is going to be like, and it’s pretty good.”
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.