The Army is currently testing remote-controlled weapon towers dotted along the perimeter of a base at Fort Bliss, Texas, in an effort to utilize soldiers’ time better and keep them safer.
Known as Tower Hawk Systems, the revolutionary security technology lets soldiers control weapon towers via remote control, all while safely protected behind the walls of the military base, Fox News reported.
Currently, between four to six military personnel are required to man security towers at military bases, according to Gizmag. But this duty just might become a thing of the past.
“Every soldier I have assigned to securing the perimeter is one I don’t have that can execute support missions,” Lt. Col. Raphael Heflin told Fox News. (RELATED: Cutting-Edge Robotic Dog Sent To Marine Corps For Basic Training)
Fort Bliss is testing towers mounted with Browning M-250-caliber machine guns and 338 Lapua sniper rifles, but according to reports, almost any type of gun can be mounted and controlled remotely.
Software called Joint All Hazard Command Control System allows soldiers to move the weapons up, down and in 360-degree circles from the tactical operations center within the base. What’s even cooler is the software can allegedly pick out enemies without help from the soldiers manning the system, and will track the combatants until directed to take further action.
Instead of four to six men physically manning the perimeter, this new system only needs two military personnel. These two soldiers virtually man the center behind two massive computer screens streaming normal, thermal, and infrared vision scanning the perimeter, and use controls just like the ones for gaming consoles — giving soldiers a user-friendly familiarity.
The U.S. Army is currently in the throes of testing a slew of cutting-edge tech — including the towers — in a program called Network Integration Evaluation 16.1. From Sept. 25 to Oct. 8, 9,000 military members will be testing tech, software and more efficient energy systems, in the hopes of utilizing some or all of the gadgets.