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John Bassett, an experienced security consultant, believes combat robots are rapidly becoming “a reality” of modern day warfare.

This claim comes after, according to the, the Pentagon has announced it’s investing millions “to develop prototypes for a combined-arms squad.” These state-of-the art military units will consist of human soldiers and robots and are aimed at maximising performance on future battlefields. Combat robots will rapidly become an inherent part of US fighting forces within the next 10-15 years, defence experts say.

Washington is apparently seeking to gain military edge over China, Russia and other rivals investing in research and development of robotic systems. Bassett explained: “Intelligent robotic weapons – they’re a reality, and they will be much more of a reality by 2030. At some point around 2025 or thereabouts the US Army will actually have more combat robots than it will have human soldiers.”

He’s not the only expert who believes in the rise of the robot soldier. Peter Singer, a strategist for the New America Foundation, said armies also need to prepare themselves for battles against killer machines. He suggested the Congress hold a classified hearing on where the US stands compared to its enemies on cyber warfare.

Six3 Advanced Systems was awarded the £8m contract “to design, develop, and validate system prototypes for a combined-arms squad, which combines humans and unmanned assets,” according to a Pentagon press release. It is a subsidiary to the major American defence contractor CACI International and currently provides sensor development and signal processing technologies for the US Intelligence Community and the military, according to Bloomberg.

The statement added the next-generation system should bring “advanced capabilities in all domains to maximise squad performance in increasingly complex operational environments.”

In the meantime, Russia is also developing similar robots to match the increasingly demanding requirements of the battlefield.

Russian military strategists also believe it is the robots that will shape the future look of war.

“I see a greater robotisation, in fact, future warfare will involve operators and machines, not soldiers shooting at each other on the battlefield,” Lieutenant-General Andrey Grigoriev, head of the Advanced Research Foundation (ARF) said last year. “The soldier would gradually turn into an operator and be removed from the battlefield.”