In Ironman 2 we have the line "Drones is Better" and this is the direction the future will take.
"In addition to carrying several computers and sensor systems, he might wear body armor that also provides air conditioning. Satellite communications, of course, and two way video. Exoskeletons are already in the works and may mature by then. A lot depends on breakthroughs in battery tech."
No, this isn't the way it will be, exoskeletons and other manned systems are all limited by the fragile human body, while drones can tolerate shocks and g-forces which will turn a human into jelly (machines can tolerate hundreds or thousands of gees undamaged). Drones have the added advantage of taking the fear of death out of the combat equation, and thereby boosting human performance and combat aggressiveness. Human shaped drones will therefore replace the infantry and ground cavalry, as they are already replacing aircraft. An athlete will use a biofeedback system that allows the full range of movement and provides parallel physical orientation, to control the motor functions of the drone; specialists will operate the weapons, sensors, etc... from HD touch screen surrounded stations. The first such drones will be large 20-30ft tall with pneumatic and internal combustion powered limbs capable of broken field running at hundreds of miles per hour, jump like the Hulk if not as invulnerable, treat tanks like the same, and be air dropped without a parachute. Armed with head mounted 20mm or 30mm cannon, back mounted Javelins, shoulder mounted anti-missile systems a la Predator, a full range of 360 degree sensors, as well as normal infantry hand weapons and tools like a trenching shovel sized to fit. A small turbine or rotary engine for electric (maybe fuel cell), pneumatic pump and tank, and fuel tank mounted internal in the hip region, computer support and communications mounted in an armored belly (the brain and nervous system), the head will contain the main weapon and 360 degree sensors, and ammunition for the shoulder and head mounted weapons in the chest. Bones and muscles will be replaced by light strong alloys, and a combination of pneumatic and internal combustion cylinders for both fine motor control and gross strength all balanced to perform as the normal human body for an intuitive understanding and the ultimate in user friendly performance.
I envision a squad of soldiers working as a team operating one drone, with 360 degree situational awareness, tied into all other assets like UAVs, Satellites, and other ground units. The speed and combat power of such a system would have to be measured as the equal of a Battalion or Brigade of normal infantry.
The beauty of all drone combat is that American blood will no longer be spilled, captured, tortured, or defiled by ourenemies. And our reluctance to endanger our troops will evaporate, at the same time as our combat power grows several fold.
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