Are you ready for the future of tanks? Good. Because we are here to tell you about this amazing high tech tank known as Ripsaw that is being tested by US Army. The ‘drone tank’ is remotely controlled and is capable of reloading itself and changing weapons at a simple touch of a button. According to Army leaders, this tank may very well one day lead US troops into battle.
The vehicle is still in development, however, has been tested and is capable of driving up to 1 kilometers ahead of different sorts of formations. Bob Testa of the Remote Weapons Branch of the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center said, “We cut the copper cable and made it wireless so that the vehicle and weapon can both be driven remotely.” He further told that while tests were being carried out the Ripsaw was followed by an M113 Armored Personnel Carrier. The latter was trailing up to a kilometer behind and was being driven by a soldier with another soldier controlling the Ripsaw and its weapons wirelessly. Testa along with his team decided to make use of a vehicle that was already in production by Howe and Howe Technologies and already sported remote driving capabilities.
The team converted the vehicle for army use and incorporated Common Remotely Operated Weapons Station (CROWS). This system has been used since 2004. It allows a soldier within the tank to fire without having to stick his head out for visual aid in firing. The cameras and range finders that are featured in CROWS see for the soldier and allow the soldier to tilt and swivel the weapon as required.
ARDEC has developed the Advanced Remote Armament System (ARAS). This is basically a gun that is capable of loading itself and can switch between a myriad of ammunition such as non-lethal and lethal within only few seconds. In case you’re wondering about making this tank autonomous and completely taking away the need for human control; it is not going to happen. Why? Because war has been specified as a human endeavor and there are guidelines that state use of robots in war as unacceptable.
According to Testa, formal certification testing at Aberdeen Proving Ground is still required for taking the project to next stage. He also stated that a ‘firm requirement’ from the Army to move ahead from the development phase is also needed.