Remote-controlled military technology is becoming more common. There are a number of similar machines for various purposes and the number of such projects is constantly increasing. Some of these developments have firmly entered the structure of the armed forces (unmanned aerial vehicles, etc.), while others are still only at the stage of designing or testing. With all of this, because of some circumstances, the greatest attention is paid to the current time specifically remotely controlled planes and helicopters. Unmanned tanks or self-propelled artillery until they started fighting means armies. Yet, the work in this direction are already underway. Back in 2007, BAE Systems has published information about your own brand-new project aims to solve this dilemma.
In the first half of the past decade, experts at BAE Systems offices intensively engaged in the problem of the creation of ground combat equipment which does not require the presence of a particular crew. Work was carried out within the framework of programs from UGV (Unnamed Ground Vehicle — «unmanned ground vehicle»). The aim of the project was the creation of the major systems and technologies necessary for the development of this combat vehicle for the Army. First results applets UGV appeared already in the midst of two-thousand years. In 2006 took place the first experimental tests specially made machine, and by the end of next year, BAE Systems released some details of the technical nature.
The first result was the UGV programs from experimental armored vehicle Black Knight («Black Knight»), built approximately in 2006. In its design extensively used some components of infantry fighting vehicle M2 Bradley. «Black Knight» is a fighting machine that resembles a tank, but with all this protection, and having weapons at BMP. Such a view has been proved experimentally minded project. First layout Black Knight was built just for testing the main technical solutions, making future production machine, built using the acquired technologies and solutions are likely to have a different look.
Yet, in its current form «Black Knight» can find their niche in the structure of the Army. Fighting machine is some semblance of a tank of small sizes. Length experimental machine not exceed 5 meters, width equals 2.44 m, height — less than 2 m Combat weight layout is approximately 9.5 tons. Dimensions and weight lets you carry Black Knight medium military transport aircraft Lockheed C-130. While this is only a fascinating feature of the project, but further weight and size properties can assist to find a new use war machines.
First layout Black Knight resettled office Caterpillar engine rated at 300 horsepower. As seen in the photo available, the engine-transmission compartment is located in the front of the chassis. Tracked Undercarriage has in its composition 5 rollers on board. With this power plant and chassis model cars «Black Knight», allegedly on the highway can reach speeds up to 77 miles per hour. Other driving characteristics has not been announced.
Mounted on the machine body comparable large tower. Judging by its size, the bulk of its internal volume is occupied by the different avionics. Not counting electronics Black Knight carries weapons, weapons similar BMP M2 Bradley. This M242 automatic gun caliber 25 mm and coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun M240. Possibly, the selection tools, as well as in the case with the general view has been proved experimentally temper project. 25-mm cannon and machine gun sufficient to test the general abilities of new electronic systems.
Front and top of the tower of the «Black Knight» equipped with countless sensors and systems. So, next to arms installed one of those cameras. In addition, the front of the tower, there are four (two on each cheek) block stereoscopic cameras. Such equipment is used to ensure that the operator of the complex could drive a car, having vsepolnotsennuyu picture environment, nekordinalno different from that observed by ordinary vision devices. On the frontal towers and on the cheeks, there are four laser radar (LADAR) to rotary devices. As can be seen from their location, the middle two (along the edges of the arms) scan area in the horizontal plane, and the last two (on the cheeks of the tower) — vertical. On the roof of the tower in the corresponding trapezoidal enclosure arranged to drive the camera and aiming. As panorama supervisory device used on camera Speed dome installation. In addition, there are at tower antenna data, the GPS system receiver and several other systems.
All collected cameras, radars and sensors information is transmitted over a secure radio link to the control station ROCS (Robotic Operator Control Station — «station robot control»). It is understood that the controller and all the associated system will be made in the form of compact portable console or placed on any armored vehicle, for example, on the M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, or any other suitable mc. ROCS station on screens displayed all the necessary driving information system operations managed machine also route data to and objectives. As the main governing body of the controller is used with lots of buttons and switches. As required some functions, such as traffic control or search goals can be attributed to the electronics, operating in automatic mode.
As stated in the first press releases, some technical solutions have been tried during testing in 2006. One of the main goals of this work was to develop machine movement along the route with the introduction of remote monitoring and control, including overcoming various obstacles. In 2007 passed the first tests with the introduction of weapons. Thus, in January 2007, during tests at the site of Fort Knox (Kentucky) operators were in BMB M2 Bradley on some distance from the car Black Knight, could bring it to the position, and then find and kill the training goal. In addition, during these tests showed itself perfectly automatic control, which is great to cope with driving armored vehicles and searching purposes.
According to recent reports, the designers BAE Systems continued to work on improving the features of the «Black Knight.» Midst of goals was the full integration of the complex control and communication with the remote-controlled armored existing military communications and control system. In addition, promising fighting machine must be able to move without the help of others on the assigned route, having only partial information about the landscape. With all of this separately noted that the decision to open fire has always been and remains the operator.
For the latest information on the progress of programs from UGV project in general and Black Knight were announced only a couple of years back. Which Way is the project at the present time, remains unknown. In addition, is a live series of questions, which seemed a couple of years back. For example, so far there is no potential of a disk imaging not only independent movement fighting machine, and one hundred percent of battery life on search and attack targets. Another important issue — the scope of the implementation of promising remote-controlled combat vehicles. In the midst of other variants were called to work as reconnaissance vehicle also support infantry combat vehicles on the march and during operations.
Judging by the lack of news in recent years, the program UGV, as well as part of a project Black Knight, seriously stuck at the stage of testing and experimental tests. So Makarov, during the last time programm UGV can be the basis for a new project remotely operated ground equipment applicable to practical use in the army. On the other hand, the complexity similar projects can lead to a different result. Creating remotely controlled equipment is a rather complicated puzzle. The development of such projects, implying the possibility of full automatic operation, it becomes even more difficult problem. Apparently, BAE Systems currently being faced with some difficulties, which led to a severe tightening of the project.