The Future of Modern Tank Warfare Is Bright (and Looks Like a Video Game)

DARPA is the agency that makes video game battlefield technology reality (or at least tries to). Battlefield robots, 3-D mapping, an aircraft capable of traveling 20 times the speed of sound—the Department of Defense’s advance technology arm lives on the cutting edge. It should come as no surprise, then, that what the agency has in mind for the next evolution of tanks looks like something pulled straight from Halo or a future installment of Call of Duty.

As flagged by io9, DARPA’s Ground-X Vehicle Technology—which is on display in the video above—is almost the very antithesis of the tanks we know today. The hulking, unwieldy chariots of Gen. George S. Patton and Co. are no more; in their place will be, hypothetically, more agile, smart, and partially self-controlled vehicles whose design seem to take their cues more from cars on the road today than from their WWII-era predecessors.

DARPA plans to slim down armored vehicles, per the BBC, by, essentially, making them smarter. “GXV-T’s goal is not just to improve or replace one particular vehicle,” said DARPA program manager Kevin Massey. “It’s about breaking the ‘more armor’ paradigm and revolutionizing protection for all armored fighting vehicles.”

That’s because, according to a statement released by the agency, the technology of armor-piercing weapons is advancing quicker than that of the armor itself. And, perhaps more problematically, DARPA suggests that “the trend of increasingly heavy, less mobile and more expensive combat platforms has limited Soldiers’ and Marines’ ability to rapidly deploy and maneuver in theater and accomplish their missions in varied and evolving threat environments.”

The result? The agile, four-wheeled vehicle and its futuristic heads-up display shown above, which, as the BBC suggests, could feature anything from unmanned drone-like automation to intelligent systems capable of avoiding enemy engagement all together.

Like most things DARPA cooks up, the GXV-T program is, at first glance, seemingly tactictally sound and capable of tickling my sci-fi loving, video game-playing fancy. If this is indeed the future of modern tank warfare, then the future looks pretty bright (for the United States, at least). Though, if and when the Department of Defense’s dream does become reality, let’s keep it off American streets for a while, shall we?