Look: U.S. Army Touts Robotic Tanks That Are 'Invisible' to Enemies


Arnold Schwarzenegger would be proud.

A new U.S. Army tank is virtually invisible to enemies. It carries the latest advances in arms and in armor. They can shoot down planes and take out entire cities.

And perhaps most unusual of all, they don’t require a single human being inside.

The official name of the project is the Robotic Combat Vehicle, and if it sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, consider the fact that a demonstrator should be available by 2021.

According to defense specialist Allison Barrie, they’ll be the first in a new generation of autonomous tanks.

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“Similar to how drones are operated above war zones while flown by pilots more than an ocean away, smart heavily armed and armored vehicles could similarly execute the instructions of soldiers safely within the walls of a base,” she wrote in a piece published at Fox News on Friday.

“Just like the aerial drones, the military will soon be able to remotely operate combat vehicles on the ground anywhere on the planet. Human crews operating the ground drones could be safely stationed on U.S. home soil — nowhere near the enemy.”

The BAE Systems CV90 MkIV is one of the top contenders for this project.

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According to Barrie, the new prototype “already possesses ‘man-optional’ combat mode. It offers all the advantages of the CV90, while potentially allowing a military to take humans out of the battle physically. BAE has already proven that it can remotely operate this ferocious machine beast.”

The active protection of the new model also allows it to be nearly invulnerable to attacks ranging from nuclear assaults to IEDs. However, perhaps the most amazing ability of the CV90 MkIV is how it manages to hide from the enemy.

“BAE’s mind-blowing and relentlessly trailblazing ADAPTIV program provides camouflage that renders the vehicle essentially ‘invisible’ to enemy forces,” Barrie writes.

“It does this by something called ‘active multi-spectral cloaking.’ The cloaking can make the vehicle blend into the background so it seems to vanish. It can even mimic other objects making the tank look like rocks or a car in the eyes of the enemy if need be.”

In other words, it’s like an armed chameleon. And trust us, it’s armed all right.

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“The CV90 tends to involve a two-man turret armed with Bushmaster cannons. This remote-controlled solution allows powerful weapons to be unleashed on the battlefield but reduces the risk to soldiers by taking them out of the turret,” Barrie writes.

“The firepower is a pick and mix. The vehicle’s weaponry can be tailored to requirements and there’s quite a range of options — even very powerful missiles. The weapons can even defeat enemy aircraft and enemy tanks.

“Its Fire Control System can already autonomously set the type of ammunition most suitable to defeat these threats, as well as automatically calculating the angles for maximum accuracy,” she adds. “By itself, the vehicle can also choose the fuse setting. This smart vehicle knows whether the best approach will be airburst, impact or delayed detonation and adjusts its selection to the threat.”

While full autonomy will likely be a possibility sometime in the near future — meaning the tank’s systems will be able to act on their own — Barrie says that the tank will likely have a human at the helm, even if it’s only being controlled remotely.

“Critics will fear monger about the sky falling due to this generation of smart combat vehicles,” she wrote. “The fact that the military takes great care to keep humans in the decision-making process is frequently overlooked.

“Most importantly, sending autonomous vehicles into combat without human crews could significantly reduce the risk of casualties.”

And, it sounds like this new tank could be making a huge difference in just three years. That’s eight years earlier than Schwarzenegger’s character transported back in time from in the first “Terminator” movie. Just pointing that out.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture