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Thread: The Validity of Bipedal Fighting Vehicles in the Real World

  1. #1
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    Default The Validity of Bipedal Fighting Vehicles in the Real World

    OK. The Question is: Do you think that a Giant Fighting Robot would have any value in real world combat? Assume that it doesn't contain any unknown Technologies (Such as Mobile Suits being powered by Fusion reactors), although the application of new technologies like Carbon Nanoutubes is fine.

    I personally think that terrestrially, a bipedal fighting unit of any height greater then 10 feet would be useless. Tanks and Mobile Artillery can go practically anywhere as it is, and have a great advantage in being close to the ground, which makes them much harder to spot. Any decent Air Force would have no problem annihilating a 30ft walking mech. It's large, expensive, and an easy target. Walking Powered suits could have some large advantages for infantry and engineering units, but as a replacement for Armored Calvary, or Artillery? Please.

    However, in large scale space combat, the mech becomes a lot more viable. Compared to a Ball-type space combat vehicle, a bipedal mech with thrusters mounted in the shoulders and feet would be relatively easy to control, essentially using the mech’s legs to control the direction of the jets, allowing more erratic movements and less computer control. Also, the reduction in the number of jets needed to maneuver would make the bipedal mech cheaper. Compared to other vehicles, a mech with hands would have the ability to quickly switch weapons, and reload munitions by itself.
    Ehhh, I dunno if I'll stick around. We'll see.

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    I think a BIG disadvantege is the high center of gravity, especially with a low area of balance for a bipedal.... thing.

    Draw a line the thickness of your feet (in relation to each other) between your feet, that's the area you can have your center of mass over and remain balanced. Add a force perpendicular to that line and knocking you off balance is easy. An M1A1 or an M109 are tough as all heck to knock over. Granted, in rocky terrain it would be much easier for a walking mech to get around, once the shooting starts it's just too easy to fall over.

    On the other hand though, I like they way they put it in Gundam Wing. People tend to fear large machines. Giant humanoid robots would have a profound psycologial effect on enemies. Granted, when your shooting and being shot in the middle of a battle, at you don't have enough time to think "OMG!!! THEY HAVE A GIANT $!%!$#^ ROBOT SHOOTING US!!!" But in the more in-active area's it's gonna be an intimidating athority figure.



  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by bakakame
    I think a BIG disadvantege is the high center of gravity, especially with a low area of balance for a bipedal.... thing.

    Draw a line the thickness of your feet (in relation to each other) between your feet, that's the area you can have your center of mass over and remain balanced. Add a force perpendicular to that line and knocking you off balance is easy. An M1A1 or an M109 are tough as all heck to knock over. Granted, in rocky terrain it would be much easier for a walking mech to get around, once the shooting starts it's just too easy to fall over.

    On the other hand though, I like they way they put it in Gundam Wing. People tend to fear large machines. Giant humanoid robots would have a profound psycologial effect on enemies. Granted, when your shooting and being shot in the middle of a battle, at you don't have enough time to think "OMG!!! THEY HAVE A GIANT $!%!$#^ ROBOT SHOOTING US!!!" But in the more in-active area's it's gonna be an intimidating athority figure.
    I think the ease with which a coordinated military assault would damage/disable them would mitigate the OMG GIANT ROBOT Factor. Maybe if they were plentiful, but the economics of giant (let's say Gundam size) fricken' robots is wack. You easily make a dozen or so Abrams for that amount of cash. A barrage on depleted uranium is a barrage of depleted uranium. And a unit of Abrams is both smaller, and made of multiple targets... so...

    I do agree about the mechs instability compared to wheeled/tracked vehicles though.
    Ehhh, I dunno if I'll stick around. We'll see.

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    *joins in the frenzy...

    For now, 30 foot high bipedal fighting machine is a little bit far-fetch and needs to overcome various technical challenges.

    However, infantry equipped with exo-skeleton suit is quite feasible with our current technology. This will increase the speed and range of the foot soldier in a battlefield, not to mention the increase of load/weapons can be carry/integrated with the suit. Infantry equipped with exo-skeleton can acts as mobile support group to other normal infantry also with it's mobility, it can access area where heavy machinary are unable to be deploy.

    Yet, we still need heavy armor units to support the trops in a battle.

    'nough said...

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    Please make sense. Also, quit attaching pointless pictures to your post. And the forum uses UBB code, not HTML.
    Ehhh, I dunno if I'll stick around. We'll see.

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    Bipedal 'mechs aren't much plausible in the real world, as reasoned by members before me. In space, though, I'd still go for a ball-like fighter craft. Consider, a 'mech whose weapons and control thrusters/jets/what-have-you are carried on it's arms and legs can have those arms and legs blown off. Also, your erratic movement factor doen't seem quite plausible. Having jets carried on the legs limits the 'mechs range of movement to only the directions the mech's legs canbe turned.

    On the ground, something more along the lines of multipeds in the style of GITS seems much more plausible. Four legs and a lower center of gravity(front-line deployment models appear to be under 20ft tall, maybe only 15ft) seem harder to knock over than 30ft and two legs. Also, the ability to switch between walking and wheeled motion makes them versitile.

    However, in the realm of cool,
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    Quote Originally Posted by Opinionated
    Bipedal 'mechs aren't much plausible in the real world, as reasoned by members before me. In space, though, I'd still go for a ball-like fighter craft. Consider, a 'mech whose weapons and control thrusters/jets/what-have-you are carried on it's arms and legs can have those arms and legs blown off. Also, your erratic movement factor doen't seem quite plausible. Having jets carried on the legs limits the 'mechs range of movement to only the directions the mech's legs canbe turned.
    Yeah, but if a ball took any damage, it too would lose mobility. For the Ball to be feasible, you'd need at least six jets, one on each side and top/bottom. Almost any attack on a ball is likely to damage a jet. My examples leg/shoulder jets give the model a certain amount of redundancy. It would be hard for a ball to maneuver on any less then six jets, but a Mech could do it easily on two.

    As for the use of leg as a type of vernier, it has to do more the reality of dogfights. In a fighter, you WANT instability for avoidance maneuvers. Erratic, high speed maneuvers are what one needs to avoid missiles and what not. In a ball, unless flown entirely by computer, the movement is very, very linier. A missile could track it very easily. It's simply not possible for a human to fly a ball type vehicle with any fluidity. So, I mean, Balls would be fine for drone-fleets, but a human thinks too two-dimensional to be able to pilot one.

    Another point is the fact that in the Ball is more expensive to build (at least six 180 degree aimable thrusters, as opposed to at least 2 mounted on legs and/or shoulders), has less space (for special systems/ammo/decreased cooling needed) and features parts that can't easily be swapped out.
    Ehhh, I dunno if I'll stick around. We'll see.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Manhatten_Project_2000
    Another point is the fact that in the Ball is more expensive to build (at least six 180 degree aimable thrusters, as opposed to at least 2 mounted on legs and/or shoulders), has less space (for special systems/ammo/decreased cooling needed) and features parts that can't easily be swapped out.
    Okay, so we have six thrusters, compared to two thrusters, and the host of delicate joints involved in the construction of anything vaguely resembling an MS. The main reason that humanoid fighting machines aren't going to be too feasable is the fact that you have at least 12 joints which are vital to the operation of the machine (legs and arms), in addition to 30 even more delicate joints involved in the design of a full human hand, though that can be cut down to 14 for slightly less maneuverable hands. If any of the 12 joints are damaged, your ability to either use munitions or maneuver is seriously hampered.

    The reason that a ball-type craft is superior, contrary to what you have said, is the fact that given something like the control systems seen in MS's from Char's Counterattack, the lighter and more nimble ball is more than capable of outmaneuvering anything, since it does have thrusters in six different locations, though it is less survivable than a humanoid suit, where there are more targets.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by viewtyjoe
    Okay, so we have six thrusters, compared to two thrusters, and the host of delicate joints involved in the construction of anything vaguely resembling an MS. The main reason that humanoid fighting machines aren't going to be too feasable is the fact that you have at least 12 joints which are vital to the operation of the machine (legs and arms), in addition to 30 even more delicate joints involved in the design of a full human hand, though that can be cut down to 14 for slightly less maneuverable hands. If any of the 12 joints are damaged, your ability to either use munitions or maneuver is seriously hampered.
    Building actuators isn't that hard or expensive, and in space they only have to counter inertia. However, thrusters are very, very expensive.

    And the hand could easily be reduced to a claw and a data-port, and still be usable for reloading and firing. A fully articulated hand is just overkill.
    The reason that a ball-type craft is superior, contrary to what you have said, is the fact that given something like the control systems seen in MS's from Char's Counterattack, the lighter and more nimble ball is more than capable of outmaneuvering anything, since it does have thrusters in six different locations, though it is less survivable than a humanoid suit, where there are more targets.
    Like I said, It would be great for a very sophisticated AI, but Humans think too 2D to ever pilot one effectively. No one really thinks in three dimensions, at least not in a clear enough way to dogfight in a ball.
    Ehhh, I dunno if I'll stick around. We'll see.

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  11. #11
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    yes i agree the whole 30ft fighting trooper is a bit hard to hide in an nopen battle, but the whole concept of war is changing drasticly. urban city fighting like what weve seen in Iraq is nulifying the speed and armour on our tanks and apc's the fear factor of even a 15ft armoured trooper could turn a battle. something along the lines of Votoms, Gasaraki and heavygear. lower cg, keeping the engines and/or batts lower, the trick would be the interface of the controls. how do you put human reflexs into something that must weight 1-15tons without blowing a hydralic line or sythetic muscle.
    and does it really need hands?
    the movement bonus of a walking tank in an urban setting will keep the ideal of mechs in the military i think. thou the first ones we will see will be mulit limbed ones, 4-6 leggers with a low cg and basicly ends up a walking tank.
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  12. #12
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    I'm surprised no one brought up Patlabor even once. Patlabor is by far the most idealistic and realistic anime has ever come to making it seem possible, feasible and useful. It went past just the idea of using a bipedal mecha as just a war machine and made it into a construction tool. Also, for the most part Patlabor shows mechas being slow, clunky and hard to manuever. It shows what it really might take to keep a mecha in operating condition, how one might have to transport them even. And many times shows their short comings, such as not being able to walk under a low bridge/overpass and the amount of finacial damage they can cause. Also you can clearly see the structure it takes to build mechas in Patlabor, from the contract bidding with the military for a company to be the exclusive mecha company the military uses for this type or that type of mecha, to the factories they are built in and the hierarchy and man power it takes to run those factories. I'm not even going to begin to get in on how it showed the politics of mechas.

    I'm not even going to try and argue if the technology for mechas is available, because it is. Proper balancing sensors with set parameters, hydrualics(don't even get me started on the power of hydrualics, especially if you've never worked on heavy duty hydrualic systems), drive by wire, so on and so on. What it would come down to is proper training to drive them. Which I really don't think is something we as a people would find all that difficult to do, we've done much more complicated things before. Is it a money issue why we don't have bipedal mechas? Probably not, I think it just that it's a very different and still truthfully strange concept that cause people to be weary on funding it.

    Anyways, I know it has come off as me sounding like some big Patlabor fan, which I am, but honestly, if you haven't seen Patlabor, give it a spin and pay close attention to every little detail and you can see how for once the idea of a bipedal mecha was taken seriously.

    Give it time, it'll happen, the human race has created more new technology in the past hundred-hundred and fifty years than it has in all the time before then. Granted I admit, when ever mechas become reality, it'll probably be for military use and then trickle it's way down to public service use, i.e. construction.

    And here's something for ya to chew on. Think about all of the equipment used for large construction, starting to see how we already have mechanical arms already mecha sized? Don't overthink it and it becomes clear how easy it could be done.

    Oh well, this is all just my opinion, my very well thought out opinion, but kept simple.

  13. #13
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    hmm how the heck did i forget patlabor..i guess i was thinking too much about a smaller scale mecha. o well, im a big patlabor fan too, and your right about that show detailing life among labors.
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    if you think about it logicly, bibedal mechas would be able to do large scale damage to city base ect without having to use there waeponry, just think about it 30ft tall mechas with some weight behind them, easily be able to knock down a wall. and ifintry wouldnt be a problem, in fact if we had mechas there ouwld be no need for infantry, just look at gundam and the zakku sereis of mechas, there cheap fast, who give a donkeys if there a target for airstrikes, there huge! shot one down in the battlefield and theyll cause some major damage to there surroundings

  15. #15
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    Actually infantry is vital to any military and will always be needed. Also a well trained infantry can take out a tank quite quickly and easily. No, now that I think about it a single man can take out a tank, extremely easily, it's called the Javelin, anti-tank guided missle with fire-and-forget technology.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FGM-148_Javelin

    Also the last time I checked it does not have any known counter-measure.

    You make a good point with the damage a mecha would cause when it falls after being destroyed, and this is similar to something we've already seen in battle, the japanese kamikaze pilots. So it is indeed a tactic to be used if need be.

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    well of course infantry will allways be needed for deep incursions and certai urban warfare, but lately ive notice that the wolrd is giving into technoligy need for good soldiers isnt really needed anymore, since yo9u can annialate an enemy with a bush of a button. makes you fell sad sometimes, how the world can be stopped with a single button, but war is essential for the human race.


    all in all if bipedal mechas do eventually get mass produced use for infantry will be needed, but all other problems will be sorted out with mechas

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    Well that would seem to be the common sense logical answer. But history says otherwise, since the same thing was said and believed about tanks. Sure push of a button takes out the enemy, but look at the cost of that button. $1,000 dollars for every push of it, not something that's used as often as one would like.

    For the most part war hasn't changed one bit from it's inception. Men on a battlefield killing each other, only thing that has changed is the technology. As I keep thinking about the uses of a mecha in a war it's slowly becoming clearer and cleaer that it's more useful as a tool for helping other machines get through rough terrain, a tool to quickly build mobile bases and even scouting. If anything it'd be like the way current H1 Hummers are the every use vehicle for the US military now. At least that's how it could start for mechas, and they just slowly progress into heavier fighting machines.

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    hmm, infantry formations with mecha, i know its vital to armoured units that infantry keep the man portable rockets away, and the same can be said for mechs. but the push to lower battlefield casualties, will we see powered armour before a full on Mech. i know the US military have a prototype powered exo-skeleton in testing, which can allow a trooper to be uparmoured like a tank...
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    I don't think we'll see large Bipedal mechs anytime in the future either. They may have some uses in civilian labor, but the energy used just wouldn't be efficient. Humans aren't designed to do things like lift large weight loads and such, that's why we built tools specifically for those jobs, a human-based design is the same thing on a larger scale. Making a general purpose machine that can do a multitude of tasks inefficiently isn't as economical as simply building a specialized unit for each task.


    As for any combat purpose, again, we won't be seing them. In a day and age right now where a mobile howitzer can acuratly strike targets 10 miles away, spending so many resources on a single unit won't work. On top of that there is the problem with the design itself, it's too complicated. The more complicated it is, the more things that can go wrong.

    With precision and yeild of ordinance on the rise, I see a future of warfare dominated by the special forces. Soon it's going to be just too easy to destroy an obvious target (referance the conflicts in the middle east). Bombers and attack aircraft were able to destroy bunkers, tanks, artillery, command posts etc. with relative ease. The future of war will be dominated by the unseen soldiers.



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