Doing guard duty is one of the most time consuming and tiring jobs in the military. Dozens of combat soldiers are required to man the walls and towers around a military complex 24/7. Not only it takes essential troops out of the war zone, but it also amounts to a lot of military expenditure since each soldier can only take a limited number of shifts while remaining alert. This is why Tower Hawk system is being tested by the US Army to provide an alternative to this personnel bottleneck.
The new system is being tested as part of a bigger initiative named Network Integration Evaluation 16.1 that is being carried out at Fort Bliss, Texas. Other troops and commanders from the NATO alliance are also here to inspect the weapons that are ready for integration in their respective armies. The new tower set replaces old guard towers with unmanned towers with a gun protruding out at the edge of a razor-sharp wire. It can be shipped in the form of containers and can be quickly erected for immediate deployment within six hours by soldiers who have minimal training.
The armament is a Browning M-2 50 caliber machine gun and a .338 Lapua Sniper rifle. Both of them are controlled remotely and can be replaced with any other rifle or machine gun with ease. Soldiers sitting inside base tactical operations squad would get a live feed from the visual, thermal and infrared cameras mounted at the top of the tower. The controls resemble those of Xbox One, and they can be used to rotate the weapon by 360 degrees and fire remotely.
To prevent friendly fire, the software can distinguish the people outside as friends or foes with ease. It can even track their movement and lock the weapon on them if necessary. With the help of this automated guard tower, the personnel requirement can be cut down by five times.
The video below shows the testing of the new system. However, can the system respond automatically?