The general, who also commands the largest U.S. military base, located
in Fort Hood, Texas, said the military has sought ways to decrease the heavy
casualty toll from Al Qaida and Taliban attacks on convoys.
Officials said the prototypes under consideration have ranged from
advanced reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles to unmanned ground vehicles
meant to reduce the number of soldiers in military convoys. They said the
U.S. Army and Marine Corps were discussing the testing of such platforms
with several defense companies.
The U.S. military has been examining unmanned platforms by a range of
companies, including those from Israel. Several Israeli firms, including the
state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries, exhibited at AUVSI in Washington
"Bring your systems to Fort Hood and allow the soldiers who just got
back from combat to use them," Lynch said. "They'll tell you 'This is going
to work. I know that ain't going to work.'"
Officials said the U.S. military would come under increasing ground
threat, particularly by improvised explosive devices, in both Afghanistan
and Iraq. They cited the new restrictions by the Baghdad government
in wake of the June 30 redeployment, which limit U.S. military operations to
logistics and training.
"The bad guys in Iraq and Afghanistan, they've got their favorite places
where they want to place their IEDs," Lynch said.
Lynch said the military wanted to procure effective UGVs that could
overcome the limitations of UAVs. He cited the inability of UAVs to see
through fog or operate in poor weather.
"The bad guys know that if the weather turns bad we can't see them from
the air," Lynch said. "Let's get those kids out of the vehicles."
In 2008, the Defense Department held a competition for a UGV with
military and security applications. At one point, the competition, in which
there was no clear winner, included Israel's Elbit Systems.
"I am so tired of going to demonstrations of technology," Lynch said.
"The technology is there. We've got to get past the demonstrations and into
the field. If you're not fielding, you're failing."