This is a common trope in Scifi; Android armies. From Star Wars, to Battlestar Galactica, these mechanical beings have influenced the content of our movies and books in many ways.

Android specs

  • roughly 10 times stronger than the average human

  • possibility to reach maximum speeds of 64 kmph

  • A breakthrough (possibly some form of programmable matter) has allowed us to quickly and efficiently mass produce them.

  • My androids use advanced AI. They are capable of handling all basic battlefield tasks without human supervision, and the high command is comprised of cyborgs with increased mental capacities. Only human interference required is to give general orders (e.g. 5th Battalion should proceed to point xy of battlefield and hold position).

Other details

  • This is sometime in 23rd century. While we have colonies on Mars and bases on various bodies in our solar system, they are mainly self reliant and do not fall under the jurisdiction of Earth governments. The United Nations became inefficient in in late 21st century and ceased to exist during the mid 22nd century.

  • The richer nations, such as the (fictional) Black Sea Union, European Union, United States of North America, the New Japanese Empire, Russia, and the New Islamic Caliphate rely heavily on Androids. The Chinese use Cyborgs (humans with cybernetic implants) to take full advantage of their relatively massive populations. The poor third world (see present day third world) have primarily human militias augmented by cyborg mercenaries.

  • Conflicts regularly occur in border regions, although full scale war has only happened twice so far, about once per century.

My question is this;

How would the use of cyborg and android soldiers by major world powers affect weapons design.

The use of these robotic contraptions would surely affect how weapons are designed. Weapons would be targeting the internal circuitry rather than the exterior shell since damage of the metal armor would do nothing but "piss them off."

If you need clarification of any kind, leave a comment.

  • $\begingroup$ How smart are they? $\endgroup$ Sep 24 '15 at 18:11
  • $\begingroup$ @DanSmolinske Edited that into the question. $\endgroup$ Sep 24 '15 at 18:18
  • $\begingroup$ I would like to point out that you seem to have two questions here, one about weapons, and the other about tactics. I answered about the former, but I'd suggest you ask about the latter in a separate question. If you don't, then I will, because I want to know the answer. $\endgroup$ Sep 24 '15 at 19:18
  • $\begingroup$ Is there an implicit scope that these are personnel weapons or is this all weapons? $\endgroup$
    – Green
    Sep 24 '15 at 20:12

Every state on the planet will be able to afford the sensor networks that only the US can afford now and guided munitions will be super cheap. It's completely conceivable that in 200 years the fog of war won't exist anymore. Whether it be from drones, satellites, or boots on the ground the amount of information available to the common Third World army commander will surpass the wildest dreams of the most forward thinking technocrat general of today. The ability to process this information into actionable info will also far exceed anything we can imagine now.

Android Mounted Weapons

Androids are the weapons. They can take over the roles that lightly armored tanks fill now. They will have equivalent firepower though perhaps not as great survivability as a tank. (Though perhaps their smaller size will compensate for lack of armor. Difficult to tell without systems to test.)

At close range, they will have blade weapons backed up by muscles that don't tire and a nervous system that doesn't need to rest. Ultra-sharp vibro-blades or energy blades may be available.

At longer ranges, the below mentioned beam and hypervelocity weapons can be mounted to androids. Because of their computer controlled muscles and integration into the wider battlenet, they will be able to hit and kill targets at beyond visual ranges. If there's line of sight between an android and a target, regardless of range, an android should be able to kill it.

Low Tech Weapons Still Effective

In some respects, weapons design won't change much. Asymmetric warfare will still depend on IEDs and ambushes in whatever form the sensor packages of the day can't detect.

Lasers and Railguns

We have these in 2015 and will have them deployed on several US Navy ships by 2020. Miniaturization of power supplies, improved power storage of batteries will meet awesome power requirements of beam and hypervelocity weapons. With miniaturization, these weapons can be mounted on humans. The lethality of beam weapons and guided hypervelocity projectiles cannot be understated. Beam weapons can be set to maim.

Combat with these weapons will be brutally bloody at close range or not very bloody at long range. Armor will help with beam weapons though not much help with railguns.

Orbital Bombardment

Yeah, this will be a thing. There are treaties in place now that prevent this from happening right now but 200 years is a long time for treaties to live. Given the degree of political upheaval described by the OP, many treaties will have expired or are just ignored. Whether this is a "Rods from the Gods" or "Freaking Lasers in Space!" scenario will depend on launch costs. Probably lasers because those satellites are lighter than having to lift tons of tungsten carbide into orbit (although with the advent of superheavy lift rockets such SpaceX's BFR, or asteroid mining, getting lethal projectiles into orbit may be exceptionally easy.)

Guided weapons

Delivery of bombs via manned aircraft went out of style in the late 21st century. Drones now deliver mass launched stand-off missiles. Heck, the missiles themselves will qualify as drones (again, we already have munitions that guide themselves). The degree of automation and intelligence embedded in even common bullets (if bullets are even still used) will far surpass 2015 tech.


The androids are probably going to use something similar to anti-vehicle weapons. Things like armor-piercing rounds and explosives(RPGs, missiles, etc) will be much more common. Weapons will probably be much larger than they are these days, because not only do they have to deliver more of a punch, but they also have stronger operators to carry them.

Body armor may make a comeback, though history has shown that armor and the weapons to pierce them are constantly evolving to overcome each other, so it's hard to say which will be winning during the time of your story. Your androids may go naked into battle, relying on their metal skin to brush off small arms and schrapnel, or they trudge along decked out in inches-thick titanium chainmail; I think it's really up to you.

There is a case that I'd like to point out, where androids fighting in close proximity to humans will be limited by how much collateral damage they want to do to these humans. Anything they're firing is most likely capable of penetrating walls and/or destroying buildings. Human settlements will be like houses of cards; this will be a necessary consideration for the defending army. In cases where civilian casualties are not an option, I'd really like to think that the androids would resort to melee combat to deliver lethal force safely.


In a word with mechanical soldiers, human-like androids would only be useful for cleaning up the urban area. In field combat, in desert or steppe automatic vehicles would be much more useful.

Moreover, even in urban areas I think, light-weight flying drones or microcopters would be much more useful.

So in general, androids well, would be the most useful for parades, and the majority of robots in the battlefield would be robotic vehicles and drones.


For this answer I'm assuming there are reasons that Androids are the go-to soldier-type, rather than dropping nukes and rods from god from orbit or scattering micro-sattelites into the stratosphere and using their data to pinpoint perfectly hit things the size of ants with precision artillery/aircraft ammunition.

The current design of weapons, mainly the size of the ammunition and the power behind it, came to be because this was an effective size to power ratio. Even against someone wearing bodyarmor such weapons are going to be effective. But with very strong Androids these weapons will be insufficient and you'll need to use other weapons. Beam weapons are an option, but they have the drawback of scatter whenever they hit reflective surfaces. No matter how reflective the surface, any laserbeam capable of being used as a weapon will be able to burn the reflective surface off with the energy that isn't reflected. But not before scattering the laserbeam in a great many directions. This is a great hazard for the eyes and sensors of anyone around it, mainly the people trying to shoot said target. This means people will equip a reflective surface on all armor to increase the chances that some of the attackers are reduced in effectiveness when their eyes/sensors are hit. So beam weapons would only really be used by low-level militia who can't handle the recoil forces of projectile type weapons.

Projectile weapons like railguns/coilguns would be another option, assuming you have a solution for the power requirements but considering the massive amounts of energy-sucking androids with super-strength and speed runnning around I guess that's not a problem. Railguns would be able to reach hypervelocity speeds, and by decreasing the projectile's weight but increasing it's speed you can keep the recoil as low as current weapons but with much more power behind the bullet (and much higher power requirement to fire it).

Lastly, melee would make a return. It is likely that the power requirements for the laser/railgun weapons is so massive that it's unfeasible to use them a lot against androids. So Androids would use their strength and speed to engage each other after the initial clash.

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to WorldBuilding Demigan! Interesting answer. If you have a moment please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. Have fun! $\endgroup$
    – Secespitus
    Mar 6 '18 at 8:44

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