Giant Robots: Do They Make Any Sense Militarily?

Topic started by Boddington on Aug. 13, 2010. Last post by haseo_yashimora 4 years, 2 months ago.
Post by soldier (495 posts) See mini bio Level 7
Hmm I think that alot of ideas from the military can have their roots found in animations, heck they all start out as a dream. I think that this may become a reality, until it becomes too easy to hack into, lol.
Post by muggy8 (6 posts) See mini bio Level 5
@core1065: now lets say that guy took that thing to the battle field, how long do you think he'll live?
Post by HeeroYuy (1,210 posts) See mini bio Level 12
In terms of physics, a Gundam is entirely plausible. The article that the guy links to from the one linked here completely ignores the capabilities of non-naturally occuring materials, like carbon steel for the interior frame and nickel titanium for the joints and lining hydraulics. I mean, just think about it even simpler for a moment, we have buildings made of the much weaker steel that stand for more than 1000ft, let alone 60ft, and that's with tons of dead weight in the forms of glass, concrete, and all the junk inside the building (the stuff that ISN'T holding the building up). Hell, you can almost make a building out of bricks and wood that will stand 50ft. 
Finding hydraulics or superconducting motors that could move such a unit would be tricky depending on how thick the armor and the weight of the materials used, but using lightweight materials for the frame would extend your options. Considering the insane torque of large scale electric motors though, even that wouldn't be an issue, so this guy's argument for the cube-square factor is totally moot. Granted, it'd be extremely impractical to get something like a real Gundam to fly (it'd probably need something the size of the Space Shuttle external fuel tanks), but the concept of building a bipedal walking tank that's 60ft tall isn't impossible in the least.
 In terms of how much it'd cost to make, it'd be impractical beyond making, say, 5 or 10 even for the USA since from rough calculations I've done in the past (many of which I've posted here in one form or another) it would cost around 800 million to 1.3 billion USD (which, is STILL cheaper than a B2 bomber acutally...)
It's main advantage however would be (like the linked article states) it's combination of insane firepower and mobility. You basically have a walking land battleship with a wide array of uses. Plus, so long as you don't count on the thing flying, it wouldn't be too outrageous to keep in good maintenance either with less crew than the entire tank battalion you'd be replacing with it.
Post by HeeroYuy (1,210 posts) See mini bio Level 12
Hell, to make matters worse, the secondary linked "proof that giant robots aren't possible" doesn't even acknowledge the real robot genre.... I'm sorry but using mechs from Gravion and divergence eve as examples is just plain..... *facepalm*
The one part I would entirely agree with however is in regards to smooth movement, which, probably would be nearly impossible with something that size. 
Overall he does explain his argument very well and most of what he says is true, but the problem is the applications- For example, on the matter of reliability, he spits out some numbers and talks about the chances of a primary system failure due to any component failing. How then can something with over 50,000 moving parts like the space shuttle take off, get through a mission, and be plenty serviceable to be REUSED? Sure a mobile suit would need a support crew after every mission, that's a given. It might even need a total overhaul on it's generators or whatnot else, but that's to be expected and isn't impractical.
Post by XChile (115 posts) See mini bio Level 4
@HeeroYuy:  My Hero ; )
But to deploy one on the battlefield it would be restricted the duties of self propelled artillery preferably in a mountain range....behind the front lines. It may not be S&D or CAS but it has a place in Conventional warfare maybe not so much in counter insurgency warfare. It would be a  mainly Land based support  weapon system , I wouldn't expect it to storm into a city and icing a armoured battalion and securing the city but then again the duties of military hardware are determined by what they are capable of. Cross your fingers mecha fans.

Post by MiniPato (9 posts) See mini bio Level 7
  I always found the intro to Patlabor 2 to be a very cool and realistic representation of what it would be like to have mecha deployed in a realistic modern battlefield. Although in the clip, the downfall was because they weren't authorized to engage in combat (being the JSDF), it shows how big and vulnerable of a target an upright humanoid shaped mecha is. And you still need on foot infantry to provide support.
Post by cfatalis (19,150 posts) See mini bio Level 15
@HeeroYuy: @XChile: 
if anything self propeled artilery is inefficient when you have a mecha mobility wasted on it, since the key objective is to get as much mobility as a soldier and as much firepower as a heavy MBT, they still wont be something that is dropped alone and being able to ice everything in the battlefield, there's no plot armor in real life
and why the hell that guy use Gravion of all thing as an example, something specifically said to have somekind of alien power source, alien material, and require specific person to pilot, what the hell
A military mecha application, would have to be able to defend against staggering amount of ammunition that is going to be slinged on it  , and most of all it shouldn't die any of the stupid death of metal gears, neither should it use only one sensory device and forcing the pilot to open cockpit once that sensory is blown 
Mecha are something not high in practical list with the current technology, but we will see 5 years later(also depending on how much large scale war we get)
Post by XChile (115 posts) See mini bio Level 4
@minipato: That Tunguska looks pretty bad ass there, 20 pounds of TNT will make most things go boom!..but a 20mm should have made Swiss cheese out of it. BUT yeah big ole mecha is a big heat ole signature which would be its Achilles heel. *note SAM being used as an ATGM!! >_> just crazy.
agreed if the thing is that expensive it should have external camera or FLIR whats a couple of hundred bucks.
I'll be waiting five years.  I want my Gundam ; )
Post by cfatalis (19,150 posts) See mini bio Level 15
@XChile: so you want  another 5 year arm race? 
because well another cold war level military leap would probably get us there
Post by XChile (115 posts) See mini bio Level 4
@cfatalis: ehhh I don't think economy could handle another arms race.
but we could roll the the dice ; ) jk
Post by mareo2 (8 posts) See mini bio Level 4
A giant robot is supposed to replace tanks. Try to take a city with a unit of giant robots and see hundreds or thousands of insurgents armed with cheap IEDs and rocket-propelled grenades take down the expensive toy by aiming to the joints. Or try to control a desert without being blowed into a smoking crater by long-range anti-tank missiles delivered by aircrafts. Or try that no one detect the advance of a unit of 59-feet-tall robots and request artillery fire with GPS-guided armor-piercing ammo. Is like step on the battlefield with a big neon signal that say "shoot me". What made the first Gundam anime credible in science fiction, is that the Minovski particles are supposed to work like ECM rendering long-range sensors and weapons useless, so fighting on short-range with optic sensors, rifles and even melee weapons like shields and swords made sense. 
"  The only counter measure to the "M" particle in the series was to install bulky and expensive shielding on all electronic equipment, but only to counteract the effect it had on electronic circuitry. While this could be done for space ships and naval ships, this ruled out the use of precision guided weapons, such as guided missiles. Due to this, the military use of Minovsky particles ushered in a new era of close-range combat. This is the primary reason for the birth of the Zeon close-combat weapon: the mobile suit."
Post by cfatalis (19,150 posts) See mini bio Level 15
@XChile: yeah i should write an article like this
" Good characteristics to have for your military mecha "
Post by tb13 (4 posts) See mini bio Level 3
Nope.  Not enough plot armor in real life :)
Post by SuperBuster (21 posts) See mini bio Level 6
 To me, mechs are basically tanks with arms and legs. The arms aren't really necessary except for maybe melee combat, you could use them to switch weapons depending on the situation but you might as well just build all the weapons you need into the machine like in a tank. A mech's effectiveness really hinges on its legs, especially if they got spider-like legs. With legs, mechs would still be sitting ducks in long range combat which is often found in open fields and the like but, in areas which force short-range combat like cities or mountain ranges mechs would have all of the firepower and armor of a tank with much more maneuverability. I'm not talking about Gundams here, I'm talking about small to medium size mechs like the Tachikoma in Ghost in the Shell or the Geckos in Metal Gear. Good luck trying to shoot something that moves so fast with an rpg or damaging it with bullets when you're in a close-range setting. By the time we have the technology to make Gundams flitting around and dodging barrages of missiles and lasers, you might as well build advanced jets which would have all of the maneuverability and firepower of a Gundam with half the cost and without the need to design a completely new type of weapon.
Post by YukoAsho (2 posts) See mini bio Level 4
Robot effectiveness is an interesting question.  As SuperBuster mentions, you're basically building a giant tank with legs instead of treads.  Really, unless it's hella armored, the most effective use for a mech would be launching artillery from places where tanks and stationary launchers would have difficulty being placed effectively, such as mountains and canyons.  An anime-style mech could be effective in battle with a ton of diverse weapons systems (energy blade being a last resort) would likely take an ungodly amount of energy to run, making it a massive loss should the pilot be downed.  There are of course speed and mobility advantages, but energy efficiency would be the biggest problem.
Post by haseo_yashimora (5,507 posts) See mini bio Level 14
@Boddington: @cfatalis said:

" 1. you will break several law  of physic
2. you probably get more milage building a huge state of the art tank filled with guns
3.Lighttsaber is inherently MORE impratical ( you will still die in one shot to the head) it is close combat weaponry , not much use now , useful in medieval but not now
4.if we break several law of physic, say we invented magic or somekind of new reality breaking technology, a medium sized mech would be the best, not taller than a 3 story house , rather than the giant hulking machine we see in say gundam or EVA(definitely not EVA), see gasaraki and flag for military application

  this video shows a more realistic outlook on the use of mecha or play cromehounds "
@Boddington: ya thats me

 if you've got a little bit of military otaku in ya.   

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