Teleoperated weapons will likely proliferate widely
The Syrian civil war is producing a multitude of remotely-operated, custom-made killing machines — sniper rifles and machine guns which a shooter can trigger remotely with the push of a button.
Remotely-operated guns are common in militaries around the world. The United States has thousands of them mounted on tanks and other armored vehicles. The U.S. Marine Corps is testing a smaller machine-gun robot called MAARS, and other gun-bots have appeared in South Korea, Israel and Russia.
But their adoption by rebel groups is an innovation arising from an intermingling of war, cheap personal computers and cameras. The devices typically use cables to hook up the guns to control stations. Aside from the gun, a complete setup only costs a few hundred bucks worth of off-the-shelf components and some technical skills.
After that, it’s just a matter of swiveling the now-teleoperated gun with a joystick, gamepad or a keyboard and triggering the firing mechanism.
It’s a highly effective means of denying an area to the enemy while covering one’s self from fire.
See, it’s suicide in warfare to not suppress your foe’s machine guns before maneuvering. Since a teleoperated gun cannot easily be suppressed, an attacking force’s job becomes all the more difficult.
While the weapons are hardly new to the Syrian battlefield, an August report published by the U.S. Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office listed 20 distinct teleoperated weapons spotted in Iraq and Syria which can be traced to specific armed factions.
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