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Thread: Tripods! (or Quads, Hexapods)

  1. #1 Tripods! (or Quads, Hexapods) 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    (Hey, its Friday so, what the heck...)

    Premise: What if the US build giant Tripods like in the movie war of the worlds, or lets say its a 6 legged version, armored like a tank, with the bottom part of the leg a 20m solid metal rod (or the best design to resist an IED explosion). Since rationality is no obstacle, lets say it has a mini-nuclear engine that provides power for 1 year. It has an array of IR cameras and a small turret on its underbelly equipped with a machine gun and on its top another small turret with telescopic cameras and sniper rifle type of gun for long range precision in front and the back of the turret is a small crane that can be used to lift equipment or raise/lower the crew. A computer program monitors he belly turret and leg position to pause fire when the machine gun's line of fire crosses one of the Hexapod's leg.
    It would be a big sitting duck against enemy tanks and aircraft, but lets say its deployed in Afghanistan. Small arms fire would not likely affect it before it retaliated. With its legs it could walk without going straight on a road. It has a leg ejection mechanism in case a leg gets crippled, and the walking program can walk with 4 legs

    Question: How vulnerable to IED would it be considering that the main part of the vehicle is over 60 meters high and that even with one leg demolished it can still stand on the other 5.
    (From videos Ive seen it appears the most potent part of a small IED's blast is relatively short ranged, but since ground vehicles are low to the ground and compact they can take the brunt on the blast at point blank range).


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  3. #2  
    Forum Ph.D.
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    It would be viable if it could be made to walk fast enough. If it is 60 meters tall it is a hell of a target for RPG's and can't really hide so speed is a real issue. Likely that the walking mechanism will be too complex vrs a simple wheeled vehicle.
    Cheap and simple vrs expensive and complex is the question. I have questioned the value of a humvee vrs a much cheaper four wheel drive pickup truck. Is the marginally greater off road ablity worth the much higher price tag?
    Recent studies of insect legs suggest that hexapod walking is actually pretty simple. Basicly the insect stands on a tripod while the other 3 legs move forward and lock into place. However insects are not real fast in this mode. For speed they jump or fly.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Bachelors Degree dmwyant's Avatar
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    Without extensive shocks and insulation it would likely shake itself apart. The Grizzly is an amazing vehicle using a special V shaped hull and armor to protect the passenger compartment. Grizzly APC - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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  5. #4  
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    Its height and preserving the electrical Infrastructure is one of its biggest problems. All our bases and even remote places, such as Afghanistan, are crisscrossed with overhead power lines you can't just knock down without taking out your own power, risking you own crew as you knock them down, or putting entire villages, including ones you're trying to convince to cooperate, into darkness.
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  6. #5  
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    I had a idea like that too, it's here on thesciencefourm I think--Lemmy find it. Its sort fo the same idea but instead of giant legged vehicles like what you talk about, it is simply streets and side walks being raised 10 feet or so off the ground with stilts every few meters, it would make all the streets and walks about roof level and the the surfaces would be inttelegent with sensor information and would be thin so that anything on the surface is visible.
    Here it is, take a look Afganistan Mine and IED Deterrent Idea
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  7. #6  
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    If it's nuclear powered, then it's going to have a heat signature at least as strong as any helicopter's. It might not have to vent exhaust I guess, depending on how it works. If it uses a thermal couple with the nuclear rod/reaction at the center, then it's going to have to be radiating heat outward from some kind of cooling fins. If it uses steam power, then it will only run until it runs out of water (so I'm thinking the thermal couple is more likely.) If it runs on air convection, then it's exhaust would be almost identical to a helicopter (except probably hotter.)

    The problem is that nuclear reactions don't generate electricity directly, only heat. You have to harness that heat somehow in order to get any energy.
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  8. #7  
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    Why does it need anything special to power it?
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  9. #8  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    Electrical power lines: Good point, Ok make it taller, something like 200 meters so that it steps over power lines, with sensor and navigation software that is specially calibrated to recognize power lines with its sensors and step over regular street powerlines.

    Why Nuclear Power?: I thought it would give it greater autonomy by having it need to refuel only once a year of something, but maybe it could be battery powered and use solar panels and a electricity leeching tentacle that could grab a power line and recharge(if thats possible). Oil power just doesnt sound high tech enough for this contraption.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo View Post
    Why Nuclear Power?: I thought it would give it greater autonomy by having it need to refuel only once a year of something, but maybe it could be battery powered and use solar panels and a electricity leeching tentacle that could grab a power line and recharge(if thats possible). Oil power just doesnt sound high tech enough for this contraption.
    If you're in the realm of sci-fi, why not just dream up some kind of super battery? Maybe use crystals? Cause every sci-fi fan knows there's nothing crystals can't be used to achieve.

    However, whatever energy source you choose, if it gives off a lot of heat, then I would expect that the tripod would be vulnerable to all the same kinds of weapons as a helicopter is vulnerable to. Perhaps it would have more/stronger armor than a helicopter, however. Certainly it's easier to make a helicopter unable to fly than it is to make a 6 legged walker fall down.
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