In December the U.S Marine Corps took delivery of a platoon of cyber troops. Made by Marathon Targets, a firm based in Sydney, Australia, the robots look, move and even behave like people, providing an unprecedented level of realism for sharp shooters.
For example, when one of the robots is ‘killed’, the others will immediately scatter for cover.
A team of robotic smart targets can execute complex pre-planned scenarios, moving unpredictably in and out of sight of training instructors.
The robots were tested here in the States and won the approval of defense chiefs. The first batch was delivered to the base at Quantico, Virginia, in a deal worth $57 million Australian dollars.
“We are very gratified by the feedback from the shooters and the training community to our second-generation smart targets,” said Dr. Alex Brooks, CEO of Marathon Targets. “Many people told us that these targets bring an urgently needed new level of realism to live-fire training.”
The mobile smart targets are armour-plated and based on Segway platforms. They are able to work as a team, moving freely across the range but remaining within a designated target area.
Marathon’s COO, co-founder Dr. Tobias Kaupp, added: “Even well-trained elite shooters thought that training with smart targets would greatly improve their marksmanship skills and, ultimately, their combat effectiveness. Many observers commented on how shooters visibly improved, even during the small amount of time that they spent with the system.”
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