The US Marines could one day use amphibious tanks and robots with machine guns to storm beaches.
Researchers are quietly testing around 50 weaponised robots at the Navy’s Camp Pendleton base in California.
Using high-tech drones and weaponised robots on the front line could help protect the lives of soldiers, the US Navy said.
Among the new weapons are robots armed with machine guns that can storm beaches as a first line of assault.
The Navy is also testing speedboats that can transform into stealthy submarines to hide from threats.
The futuristic machinery has been undergoing tests for the last two weeks at the Ship-to-Shore Maneuver Exploration and Experimentation Advanced Naval Technology Exercise base at Camp Pendleton.
Tests are trying to work out if the robots can go from Naval ships to shore lines.
Marine officer have also been putting the machines through their paces in a range of realistic military scenarios.
Using robots as the first line of attack during beach invasions could ‘save lives’, according to the US Marines.
‘The unmanned ground vehicle and the operated weapons extend that capability [saving human life] out to 2,000 metres so we can be in a protective position seeing what’s going on in the battlefield and be engaging with the enemy,’ a US Marine official told Fox News.
He added the robots could be used ‘to extend human capability in a hazardous environment’.
Weapons being tested include amphibious tanks, airbourne drones and weaponised ground bots.
The Navy are pinning their hopes on a ground machine armed with a machine gun, known as the Multi-Utility Tactical Transport (MUTT) robot.
These machines can drive themselves during beach invasions and use tracks rather than wheels to navigate sea, sand and slopes.
There are two wheeled variants, the 8×8 and the 6×6, and the robots can be armed with a range of different weapons weighing up to 600 pounds (272kg).
As well as leading on the front line, the robots can fight alongside soldiers during invasions.
Another weapon attracting attention is The Fathom, a ‘HyperSub’ speedboat that can transform into a submarine.
The hybrid uses two 480-hp Yanmar 6LY3-ETP diesel engines to cruise along at 38mph (61 km/h).
The vehicle can dive repeatedly to evade detection and was built withstand sudden pressure changes.
On demand, it has 30,000 pounds (13,600kg) of lift.
The hybrid vehicle could be used for surveillance and scouting.
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