Ripsaw MS1 Like Laumer's Bolo

The Ripsaw MS1 is an unmanned tank that can exceed sixty miles per hour and easily climbs 3-foot concrete barriers, among other obstacles. It can also be fitted with a remote gun system.

Built by twin brothers, Geoff and Mike Howe of Barwick, Maine, the Ripsaw can careen at high speed over obstacles that would leave a vehicle’s crew dazed and bruised. It is operated by a driver in another vehicle using a modular crew station that can be unbolted and placed in a range of Army vehicles, including the Stryker and all the MRAP models...

A weaponised version, modified by the Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, includes a remotely operated M240 machine gun. The gun is operated by a separate person using another modular station that can be put in a range of vehicles.

Take a look at this video of the Ripsaw MS1 tank, as well as the special command center used to control it.


(Ripsaw MS1 unmanned tank and command center)

In a series of stories that started with the 1976 collection Annals of the Dinochrome Brigade, Keith Laumer refers to autonomous tanks of remarkable size and agility. Note that these tanks can also be controlled from within a special battlecenter.

Bolos had been fully autonomous, not requiring a human commander on board, since the Mark XV... and those dated back as far as the late 24th century, at least. Still, shere conservatism, and the centuries-old fear that Bolos might start thinking for themselves and slip out from under the figurative thumbs of their human builders and masters, had kept this tiny compartment with its battle command center, reclining seat, and holoscreen...

Now, take a look at this description of a Bolo maneuvering, and compare it to what you just watched on the video:

If the sight of the Mark XXXIII Bolo towering above the plain was awe-inspiring, the sight ot that titanic monster delicately spinning in place was more so. There were three sets of tracks, each set itself doubled, on either side. The port-side tracks advanced while the starboard side went into reverse, and the entire 120 meter long behemoth rotated to its right. The maneuver looked light-footed enough, but the gouge it tore into the field was over a meter deep, and soil, rock, and clods of grass were flying everywhere...

From Defense Tech; thanks to Winchell Chung for the tip and the sf reference.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/13/2009)

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