Army Tests Robot-Force Attack on Enemy “Tank Ditch, Minefield”

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August 13, 2019 | Originally published by Date Line: August 13 on

Surging into heavy enemy fire, navigating rigorous terrain, and forward-placing sensors and weapons close to enemy targets, teams of U.S. Army robots conducted a “deep assault through a breach” during an exercise intended to prepare the service for a new kind of man-machine drone warfare.

Fox News reports the Army exercise, which pitted groups of unmanned vehicles or ground drones against a mock enemy “tank ditch” and “minefield,” was part of a massive service-wide modernization effort to prepare for a new generation of combat — one wherein self-navigating drones directly confront enemy fire in high-threat war scenarios while humans perform command and control at safer distances.

During the Army demonstration, which took place several months ago, there … “was not a single soldier in any vehicle” conducting the initial breach, Commander of Army Futures Command, Gen. John Murray, told reporters.

Murray described the exercise at Yakima Training Center, Washington, during which soldiers in manned vehicles and control centers conducted an attack at safer distances, as an extremely useful opportunity to learn about how autonomous systems are changing warfare — and talked to soldiers about the experience.