This month's National Defense magazine reports that the Army has quietly introduced a rifle-toting robot into the Iraq war. So far three of the Special Weapons Observation Remote Reconnaissance Direct Action System (SWORDS) have been deployed. (Wouldn't that acronym actually be SWORRDAS? And how long did some major at the systems command spend working that one up?)
The SWORDS is armed with a M249 rifle and is remotely controlled by a soldier through a terminal. There are no reports of the SWORDS being used in actual combat yet, however.
The 80 robots approved under an urgent materiel release are being held up "due to limited funding in fiscal years 2006-2007," said Lt. Col. William Wiggins, a spokesman for the office of the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology.While SWORDS is currently not a program of record, the Army has initiated a memorandum of agreement between ARDEC and Robotic System-Joint Project Office to expedite establishing a funded program to meet Army needs," Wiggins said in a written statement.