Sentry gun

Sentry gun

The sentry gun is a gun that is automatically aimed and fired at targets that are detected by sensors. The earliest functioning sentry gun was the Phalanx CIWS, a radar-guided gatling gun platform that defends ships from missiles. In 2006, Samsung Group announced a 5.56mm robot machine gun to guard the Korean DMZ.

Fictional sentry guns have appeared in science fiction since the 1940s. Video games have provided a fertile ground for fictional visions of sentry guns. Fictional examples of automatic sentry guns have appeared since the 1980s, in films such as "Aliens" (1986) and the television series "Æon Flux" (early 1990s).

Military use

Phalanx close-in weapons systems

The earliest functioning sentry gun was the Phalanx close-in weapons system (CIWS), a radar-guided gatling gun platform that defends ships from missiles. There is a land-based version of the Phalanx CIWS, also used for missile defense. Similar to the Phalanx is the Goalkeeper CIWS, a more powerful version with the same purpose. According to the United States Navy,

Phalanx is the only deployed close-in weapon system capable of autonomously performing its own search, detect, evaluation, track, engage and kill assessment functions [U.S. Navy Fact File " [ Phalanx Close-In Weapons System] ". Retrieved on April 10, 2008]
These guns perform sentry duty against missiles, but are not in line with the fictional versions of the sentry gun that are used primarily against humans in books, movies, and video games.

amsung's robot sentry

In 2006, Samsung Techwire, a subsidiary of Samsung Group, announced a $200,000, all weather, 5.56 mm robotic machine gun to guard the Korean DMZ. It is capable of tracking multiple moving targets using IR and visible light cameras, and is under the control of a human operator. The Intelligent Surveillance and Guard Robot can "identify and shoot a target automatically from over two miles away." The robot, which was developed by a South Korean university, uses "twin optical and infrared sensors to identify targets from 2.5 miles in daylight and around half that distance at night."

It is also equipped with communication equipment (a microphone and speakers), "so that passwords can be exchanged with human troops." If the person gives the wrong password, the robot can "sound an alarm or fire at the target using rubber bullets or a swivel-mounted K-3 machine gun." South Korea's 3,500 soldiers in Iraq are "currently using robot sentries to guard home bases." [ [ Samsung develops gun-toting robo-guard - ] ]

In fiction


A sentry gun is used to pin down a group of rebelling colonists in Robert A. Heinlein's 1949 novel "Red Planet". Michael Crichton's version, in the 1969 novel "The Andromeda Strain", fired tranquillizer darts at intruders in the underground facility. Later, in 1995, Crichton wrote about a more advanced vision of sentry guns in his book "Congo".

Video games

Video games have provided a fertile ground for visions of sentry guns. Although sentry guns first appeared in the "Command & Conquer" series Fact|date=August 2008, the "Team Fortress" mod for "QuakeWorld" solidified the sentry gun's position in gamers' vocabularies. Another early game that featured the sentry gun was "Goldeneye 64". Various games—such as "Duke Nukem" and ""—have several versions.

In the Team Fortress series of games the engineer class can construct and later upgrade sentry guns. The latest incarnation of the TF sentry gun starts as a high-caliber cannon, upgradeable with machine guns and rocket launchers. The spy class has a tool (the Electro-Sapper) specifically designed to neutralize sentry guns.

In the game "Battlefield 2142", the support class can unlock a sentry gun as one of its 3rd level unlocks. Squad leaders are able to employ sentry drones (also a 3rd level unlock), whose targets are designated by squad members through NetBat.

In both "Half-Life" and "Half-Life 2", many levels involve destruction or even control of sentry guns. "Portal", also made by the creators of the Half-Life game series prominently features sentry guns that deliver humorous dialogue in high-pitched electronic voices.

The game BioShock features sentry guns in machine gun, rocket launcher, and flamethrower varieties as well as security bots summoned by security cameras which are essentially sentry guns with rotors allowing them to fly like small helicopters. All sentry devices in the game are able to be hacked or bribed by the player to serve himself.

The game Perfect Dark features enemy sentry guns that must be destroyed in order to advance in the game, in addition to a player-usable version disguised as a laptop computer.

In the space-based MMORPG Eve Online, the areas surrounding stations and jump gates are lightly defended by sentry guns similar to CIWS systems. The relative security (although inefficient against a coordinated attack) enjoyed by players in the so-called "Low security space" zones, as opposed to "0.0 space" where PvP can freely occur, is largely due to the presence of these sentry guns.

Descent Freespace and Freespace 2 are also noted for having sentry guns. The Terran, Vasudan, and Shivan races all have their own sentry guns, with the GTSG Mjolnir class being specifically designed to take down enemy warships with a large beam weapon.

In Crysis' multiplayer Power Struggle mode there are sentry guns equipped with machine guns and missle launchers to prohibit the player from entering the enemy base.

Film and television

Fictional examples of automatic sentry guns also appeared in the original theatrical release of "Aliens" in 1986. In the film, marines who were surrounded by hostile alien creatures barricaded themselves into a sick bay facility, and deployed sentry guns to block access points to the sick bay. The weapons successfully repelled the alien adversaries until they ran out of ammunition. All reference to this sequence was later deleted from the video, television, and re-release prints of the film, and was only available on Laserdisc and the UK VHS in 1988 until the release of "Aliens Special Edition" on DVD.

As mentioned above, the film adaptation of "Congo" depicted a fictional laser-sighted remote sentry unit, which was used to repel the enemies. The science fiction television series "Æon Flux" depicted accurate sentry guns in multiple episodes. In the show, these guns, along with concrete walls, are depicted as a series of fortifications separating two nations.
* [ David Craine has a good write up]
* [ Video of the gun in action]

ee also

*Sentry guns in Half-Life 2
*Laptop guns in Perfect Dark
*Team Fortress
*Phalanx CIWS
*Goalkeeper CIWS


External links

* [ Zero-Op Systems - Commercially Available Paintball Sentry Gun]
* [ The Real Life Sentry Gun]
* [ The Real Life 'Lego' Sentry Gun]
* [ Motion sensing airsoft turret]
* [ South Korea Sentry Gun developed]

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