How One Remote-Controlled Gun Turret Can Do the Work of 10 Soldiers
October 1, 2015
An army base's perimeter guard tower might require up to six soldiers who are constantly on the lookout for threats or surprises. But the tower, it seems, is yet another place where it looks like machines are slowly taking the place of soldiers.
The unmanned, remote-controlled, gun-toting towers of the new Tower Hawk System are operated by two people sitting inside a remote tactical center. There, watching video screens displaying 360-degree views around the tower, they can do the work of up to 10 soldiers.
The tower were demonstrated at the recent Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) 16.1 event at an expeditionary base camp in Fort Bliss, Texas. The NIE is meant as a place where a coalition of mostly NATO nations evaluate "new and emerging network solutions." Basically, they come together to look at what might be the future of the military.
The turrets are part of an entire remote-controlled weapons systems that includes the towers themselves, the weapons, and the containers they're packed on. Capt. Robert Scott of the 142nd Combat Service Support Battalion reportedly referred to the whole package as a "containerized weapons systems." Six soldiers can put it together in less than an hour, and when they're done, everything fits back into the container.
The operators of the system sit back in a container of their own with several video screens supplying them with data obtained by the cameras on the tower. That includes thermal and infrared imaging. Using this scope, the two operators can raise, lower, and rotate the gun systems a full 360 degrees. To give you an idea of just how versatile this thing is, it even uses an Xbox 360 controller.