Drones can come in many shapes and sizes. Most consumers think of a drone as a flying helicopter or quadcopter, even there is much more to the ecosystem than just those concepts. A Russian military contractor is looking to deploy drone tanks in the near future. An unmanned combat vehicle of such proportions would be both amazing and bone-chilling at the same time.
Heralding The Next Era of Global Warfare?
When the topic of drone tanks comes to mind, there is plenty of reason to be concerned. An autonomous tank that can be operated remotely offers many different possibilities, but it can also create horrible scenarios. If such technology falls into the wrong hands – which seems inevitable in the long run – a drone tank could set off the next era of global warfare.
Kalashnikov Concern is one of Russia’s largest arms manufacturer and produces civilian and military equipment. The Russian contractor is quite excited about their latest project, an unmanned combat vehicle weighing up to 20 tons. Developing a working solution that does not take on a life of its own will be a different challenge, though. Autonomous combat vehicles will inevitably have their place in future warfare, even though it is a bit unclear whether or not they will effectively be deployed.
For the time being, the unmanned drone tank is still in the prototype stages. A company spokesperson mentioned how the vehicle comes with machine guns and anti-tank missiles. All of this firepower can be controlled remotely, as one would expect from a drone tank. It is unclear when Kalashnikov Concern will be able to deliver a working prototype, though, as building such a project is a momentous challenge.
What most people do not know is how the company has built a previous tank that features a very similar technology. The BAS-01G Soratnik weighs seven tons, yet is equipped with anti-tank missiles and a mounted machine gun. This particular model reaches a top speed of 25 miles per hour, and is referred to as a “mini tank”. Additionally, this tank can be operated from a range of up to six miles. It is expected the new model will have a much wider range, although no specific details have been unveiled yet.
The development of a newer model drone tank is quite troublesome to say the least. Any technology developed by the military will eventually fall into the wrong hands. If terrorists or other criminals even manage to get a glimpse at this technology, it is unclear what will happen in the future. Fighting wars without risking soldier’s lives on the battlefield is a positive aspect, although drone tanks can be used against non-military targets as well.
The bigger question is how much autonomy such a drone tank should be given. The previous model can carry out specific tasks without human intervention, although the company prefers not to reveal any specific details. A newer model will – most likely – be even more autonomous. It is doubtful we’ll ever know the full range of capabilities these drone tanks possess, as Kalashnikov Concern is partly stated-owned.
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