Russia’s Air Force Wants To Use Robots As ‘Automated Forward Air Controllers’
“Today’s smart bombs and artillery are astonishingly lethal. But for all their smartness, they need a pair of human eyes to tell the bombs where to hit. But that means those eyes—whether the forward air controllers (FACs) of Vietnam or the Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTACs) of today—have to get close enough to see the enemy. Which means the enemy can see them. Hence Russia has an idea: have robots do the work and run the risks.
The Russian air force plans to develop automated forward air controllers, according to the newspaper Izvestia. They will include automated controllers on tracked ground robots and airborne controllers on drones. ‘The robot will determine what kind of target is in front of it—a tank, a machine gun position, an artillery system, or a surface-to-air missile complex,’ Izvestia explained. ‘The artificial intelligence will select the type of weapon with which it is best to destroy the adversary’s equipment and personnel, and will also distinguish our own personnel from theirs.’ The robot will then lase the target with a laser designator for the smart bombs to home in on. A Russian air force general also told Izvestia that the robo-FAC will need to be in direct contact with aircraft, rather than routing target data through a command post”