War is about to change in a way not seen since the invention of the missile. DARPA (the defense Department’s advanced research wing) is showing off a scaled up version of Big Dog they are calling Alpha Dog, or Bull Dog. It resembles an actual bull more than any kind of dog, which reminds me of a recent story on adaptive camouflage in which researchers were attaching panels to mask most the infrared signature of tanks, and could project what would look like a walking cow onto the siede of the tank to further remove suspicion. In the case of Alpha dog, rather than projecting the cow on the tank, they seem to be putting the tank in the cow.
More interesting though, is what this says about the ever present arms race. The United States has been the dominant military power in the world, but has had troubles of late with small decentralized terrorist groups. Imagine if they were to convert an auto manufacturer to pump out tens of thousands of weaponized robotic mountain goats. It sounds a bit far fetched, but I don’t see what is stopping them really. Just with the tech they have shown the public, they already show themselves to have the tech not only to do this, but also to make them mostly autonomous. The toughest part at this point might just be giving them a power source that wouldn’t give us problems if it were captured.
It makes sense that the U.S. has cut funding for some of its largest budgeted fighter jets and other new tech. The next war will be lost to the people with the best drone offense and laser defense. What chance does a fighter pilot have against a drone immune to G forces, or a ground based laser system that shreds it from miles away at the speed of light?
In related news, there have been reports that the U.S. drones have contracted some kind of computer virus.