Thousands Of Robot Soldiers Could Be Fighting In The British Army Soon

by : Hannah Smith on : 09 Nov 2020 14:11
Thousands Of Robot Soldiers Could Be Fighting In British Army Soon, Says Military ChiefPA

Most of us know Robot Wars as that television show where DIY robots try to push each other into a pit. However, according to a top British military official, the phrase could soon come to describe real-life battlefields.

General Sir Nick Carter, head of the British Armed Forces, has claimed as many as 30,000 robot soldiers could be fighting alongside British troops in the near future. That number is equivalent to roughly half of the Armed Forces’ annual recruitment target.


In an interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Sir Carter said that the army’s plans for modernisation could see large numbers of autonomous or remote-controlled devices introduced in conflict zones as early as 2030.

PA Images

The general said, as per Independent:

If I projected forward another 10 years, I think we should be in no doubt that warfare will look different, there will be robots on our battlefield in future — there already are today.

Of course, that might change the manpower mix. I also think that reserves are very important as Covid has demonstrated, so I suspect it will be a very different mix of human beings and, for that matter, machines than it is today.


There’s no set timetable for when all this could happen. In fact, Ministry of Defence plans to upgrade British defence’s have been thrown into doubt following Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s decision to suspend a planned spending review, The Guardian reports. Sir Carter said that robot warfare would be at the heart of the five-year defence spending plan, and urged the government to go ahead with the review as planned.

PA Images

If you think robot soldiers sound like a disaster waiting to happen, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. The military is facing pushback on its modernisation plans from the Campaign To Stop Killer Robots, which has raised concerns about the dangers of uncontrolled robot warfare.

It is currently still MoD policy that only humans are able to fire weapons. However, with things like shotgun-toting drones already in development, its clear that, for better or worse, modern warfare is about to enter a whole new machine-driven phase.


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The Independent and 1 other
  1. The Independent

    Thousands of 'robot soldiers' could be fighting in British Army in near future, UK military chief says

  2. The Guardian