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April 25, 2006
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RQ-4 Bloc Automatic soldier by Norsehound RQ-4 Bloc Automatic soldier by Norsehound
In a further attempt by mankind to make robots fight their wars for them, someone (The Japanese originally) thought about applying the Unmanned Combat Vehicle (UCV) concept to Axels, since previous attempts at automated units (The Wheeled AQ-2 "Chuckie" and the American tracked MQ-1 "Lorry") were either dismal failures due to incompetence by the AI, inhibitions by conditions in the field, or were simply overrun by conventional units. Naturally the Japanese, Americans, Swiss and even the Germans tried developing automated combat units to supplement their forces (The Russians dismissed the concept of automated troopers as 'War toys'- coining the derogative term for all automated units. This, however, has not stopped them from adopting their own automations in watch and patrol duties).

The RQ-4 Bloc "automatic Soldier" was first concepted in the Japanese defense industry, but due to lack of funds the concept was sold to aspiring American military armor company General Dynamics, which had lost face with the development of the Axel. The product of their R&D efforts and development was the RQ-4.

The concept behind the RQ-4 was promising. It was a completely automated unit that could operate autonomously or with packs of squadrons using one unit as a 'Lead' that could guide the squadron when equipped with a C3 module. Though they were not disposable (as the AQ-2 was put), the RQ-4 was man-portable and could be transported in small vehicles such as a Humvee or other military jeep, assembled on the spot, switched on and given orders. Most variants sported the small machine gun seen in this example, but some sported small missiles also.

In practice however, RQ-4 units were as much of a failure as most other aspiring automated units. Firstly, the AI was wholy incapable of handling complex tasks. It was also unable to track very fast moving craft such as aircraft and fast attack units. Secondly, its small size made it hardly intimidating to anything armored. Thirdly, though it is a bipedal platform and thus has the advantage of mobility, the balance guidance system was nowhere near that of a human pilot's senses, and thus movement was slowed in order that the units didn't tip over in the middle of battle. Fourth, with developments like the monster TR-7 Bear, the small size made operating in packs almost essential for any combat capability to be extracted from these machines. The only benefit seen to using Blocs was as sentinels, advanced scouts, mine warfare units, and static infantry meant to bolster and support main force troops.

Despite the disadvantages, the Cupps Island national guard purchased nearly 700 of these units and organized them into "Static Defense Units" meant to deter infantry and light armor invaders from advancing. In shorter terms, they were pinning units designed to keep much-needed combat forces out of the action. In this way, the Blocs were quite effective.

This particular Bloc unit is painted in the fourth automated armor division, which was stationed in the woodlands of the island and is painted in camouflage to reflect this during it's deployment. Pictured for scale also is an abstract sketch of the AQ-2 "Chuckie" for comparison.
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:iconblacklion68:
blacklion68 Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2013
Oh oh... Cue the cylon march from the BSG 2003 series.
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:iconeastxander:
eastxander Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2010
umm that vs. an axel can any one say "stomp"?
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:iconnorsehound:
Norsehound Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2010
The old Blocs were supposed to be stand-in infantry units using Axel Technology. They weren't designed to be fighting axels. As it was, historically, their performance against real infantry had more to be desired.
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:iconeastxander:
eastxander Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2010
I can kinda see why... can a foot solder out run an Axel or have any chance of evading or defeating an Axel in CQB scenario?
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:iconnorsehound:
Norsehound Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2010
Most late models can outrun infantry. Bigger stride, faster speed, no endurance requirements...

Infantry can overcome Axels in CQB. The latest KR drawings show their scale in relation to your standard human being... such a standard human could dash under the legs and fire an AT rocket/bomb into the unit's torso and take it out that way. Boarding an Axel unarmored is suicide though, since they can move fast enough to throw people off.
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:iconeastxander:
eastxander Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2011
speaking of moving fast enough to throw people off how dose the pilot survive if that thign moves as heavly set as i think it is the tremors might turn the pilot into mush. but then i may be wrong.
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:iconyuki117:
Yuki117 Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2006
Another awesome one. Its "cute" if I would be so bold to say. I like the way you've painted'em into more of a support role, or a deffensive one. I can see how they'd be hard pressed to impose anyone, but four or five of 'em in a hallway, seems to be a scary thought to intruders.
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:iconnorsehound:
Norsehound Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2006
Sure, you'd probably be freaked out by hobbit-sized machines armed with an automatic gun longer than your arm...

but I want to someday draw a scene were a group of these are attacking a TR-7. Then you'll realize why they aren't much of a threat in a world with Axels :D

Ultimately I just don't have a lot of faith in unmanned weapons platforms. I can understand the ethical reason behind their development, but can we really trust an automated weapon system out of our hands to make war for us?

If I ever get to making a profile for AQ-2, I'd have to also describe the disaster of completely autonomous AI. Bolo, anyone?
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:iconyuki117:
Yuki117 Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2006
I compleetely agree with not trusting AI's to fight our wars, once they see us as enemies all it would take is one malfunction or a hacker or whatnot, to turn them ontheir comanders. 'Sides what rank would they have? Still I think, they have aplications in support or defence roles, where they are closely accociated with their human counterparts, like the tachcoma in GitS: SAC, or the AI's in Halo, Those are the appropriate uses for battlefeild AI's. We'd beter be carefull how we develop AI, least we end up like The Matrix, unlikely but remotely possible. Then theres Cyberization, somethin that would be fairly advanced by the 2030's, course thats another discussion. I think you should throw in some cyberization, cause it would decrease the reaction time of the Axel piolets and rais their kill count, and end friendly fire. Since i don't know how familliar yu are with Ghost in the Shell, I recomend you check it out, scope it for ideas. Yuki
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:icongenwu:
genwu Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2006  Professional Digital Artist
yeah you really are crankin em out today. anywho, I love the design of this. I want one! especially on those days that i dont feel like going to class or practice to pay my teachers a visit :chainsaw: Anyway, keep up the awesome work! great colors and design on this one.
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