Keith Laumer's Bolo Autonomous Tanks Right On Schedule
Science fiction writer Keith Laumer was well-known to fans for his Bolo tank stories. Bolos eventually were fully autonomous weapons:
"My hull, my proud hull of chrome-duralloy, is pitted, coated with a crumbling layer of dull black paint, bubbled by corrosion. My main emplacements gape, black, empty. Rusting protuberances mar the once-smooth contour of my fighting turret...
"But I cannot lie idle under attack. I no longer have my great ion-guns, my disruptors, my energy screens; but I have my fighting instinct. "
"A Mark XXXI Combat Unit is the finest fighting the ancient wars of the Galaxy have ever known. I am not easily neutralized..."
(Read more about Bolo tanks)
In our time, though, we're just watching the development of these tank-treaded autonomous weapon systems.
For example, Kalashnikov's BAS-01G Соратник (Soratnik - meaning "companion") is a seven ton robotic vehicle that will carry a machine gun and antitank missiles. Most importantly, it also is capable of operating on its own, with some degree of autonomy.
(Соратник (Soratnik - meaning "companion"))
Soratnik is fitted with a 7.62mm Kalashnikov PKTM machine gun that can be swapped out for a 12.7mm heavy machine gun, grenade launchers and up to eight Kornet guided missiles with a range of three miles.
Russia has further plans to create a "big brother" to Soratnik, a 20-ton robotic tank on a par with the U.S. Army's M1126 Stryker ICV.
Russia's plucky neighbor Estonia is getting its own autonomous tank weapons systems online.
(THeMIS ADDER in combat)
The THeMIS ADDER, a joint project by Milrem and ST Kinetics, is shown in action with the Estonian Defence Forces in the bottom clip– complete with gun camera footage.