Armor: A Convoys Expendable Little Brother

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April 14, 2007: Troops are still buying remote control toy trucks, for use in checking out possible roadside bombs. This, despite the fact that nearly 6,000 combat robots have been sent to Iraq and Afghanistan so far. The problem is, there are never enough droids to go around. So the droidless troops have been improvising. Radio controlled (RC) cars and aircraft are readily available from hobby stores, or their web sites. Items can be sent via air freight to Iraq. The high end RC trucks cost several hundred dollars, but can be controlled from as far away as 200 meters. These are used for checking out items on, or alongside, the road that might be bombs. Just shooting at the suspicious objects doesn't always set them off. But run an RC car up to it, and ram the object, and you quickly know if it is heavy (and possibly a bomb), or light (and likely just some garbage.) These vehicles can also be equipped with wireless video cameras, perfect for checking out what's around the corner. RC aircraft, especially the high end ones that cost $500 or more, can also, with some effort, be equipped with a wireless vidcam. However, using off-the-shelf equipment, your transmission range is only a few hundred meters. Most RC aircraft can be controlled up to 500 meters away, and with more expensive commo gear, nearly twice that.

 


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