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Syrian Rebels Build Tank With Gamepad Controller

| 10 Dec 2012 21:16

Syrian rebels have built an armored car sporting a machine gun controlled by an old-time PlayStation gamepad.

The Sham II is a home-made armored car designed and built by the Al-Ansar brigade of rebels operating just outside the Syrian city of Aleppo. It's built on an automobile chassis but is fully enclosed in 2.5 centimeter armor plating, with four external cameras, three at the front and one at the rear, providing visibility to the driver. Its sting comes by way of a 7.62mm machine gun, apparently a Russian PKM, in a top-mounted turret with a camera of its own, controlled by an old-fashioned PlayStation controller.

The vehicle is operated by a crew of two, driver and gunner, and took more than a month to design and build at a cost roughly $10,000, not including the gun. The armor is reportedly heavy enough to stop a 23mm shell, but won't hold up against tank fire or an RPG. The PS1 controller, which appears to actually be an aftermarket device, can be seen moving the turret left and right and even zooming in and out, although it doesn't actually fire in the video.

It is, on the surface, a testament to both the desperation and the ingenuity of Syrian rebels, but is it real? The name, Sham II, might suggest to English ears that it's a hoax, but it's actually a reference to ash-Shām, the ancient Arabic name for Syria. And while taking such a fundamentally combat-unworthy machine into battle might strike you or me as suicidal, desperate times sometimes really do call for desperate measures.

The Sham II is expected to be deployed in the region of Aleppo as part of the Saad Benmoaz battalion of the Al-Ansar brigade.

Sources: AFP.com, Russia Today

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