They’re not furry, and we wouldn’t recommend snuggling with them. But one of the latest creations in the area of battlefield robots are the lethal robotic dogs with a sniper rifle mounted on their backs. Created by the combination of Ghost Robotics and Sword Defense International, they were created to work and fight alongside our troops. Like something out of a SciFi movie. Or a horror movie. You can pick.
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Tyndall Air Force Base’s 325th Security Forces Squadron is currently testing the unarmed version in perimeter patrols. The robotic dogs are agile, and can maneuver in terrain that humans cannot. When fitted with special arms, they can be used to disarm bombs. They can navigate inside buildings, or climb stairs to find suspects or enemies with their cameras, and shooting them is an exercise in futility.
The SPUR: The “sniper rifle” mounted on the back of lethal robotic dogs
The 6.5mm Creedmoor rifle on the robot’s back is called the SPUR (special purpose unmanned rifle). The SPUR can be fitted on multiple Ghost Robotics quadrupedal platforms. It features a Teledyne Flir Boson 640X512 24.4mm 18° HFoV Thermal Camera Core with 30x optical zoom, a thermal camera for targeting during low-light or night operations, and boasts an effective range of 1,200 meters.
According to Sword International the robot features “safe, chamber, clear, and fire capabilities that allow for safe and reliable deployment of the weapon system – providing the operator an ability to load and safe the weapon at a distance.”
“These features also provide the operator the ability to clear malfunctions and safely unload the platform prior to recovery. Chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor allows for precision fire out to 1200m, the SPUR can similarly utilize a 7.62×51 NATO cartridge for ammunition availability.”
“Due to its highly capable sensors the SPUR can operate in a magnitude of conditions, both day and night. The SWORD Defense Systems SPUR is the future of unmanned weapon systems, and that future is now,” the company adds.
The two companies are targeting the military as a potential client for the weaponized quadruped robot.Steve Balestrieri at SOFREP
Ghost Robotics states it has no AI or autonomous control system. It is controlled by a human from a distance. Which would be handy in combat, but some law enforcement agencies have increasingly taken heat from legislators like AOC about the robotic dogs. Her complaints caused the NYPD to drop their robotic dog program in April, according to New Scientist.
They have been developing these robotic dogs since 2015, but the armed version in partnership with Sword International small arms specialists is new and was revealed at this year’s AUSA show in Washington DC. DoD policy is that no mechanism can be totally autonomous.
This robotic dog doesn’t go woof woof, and it is completely controlled by humans, at least for now. Whether it will soon be deployed throughout the military remains to be seen, but it has potential.
Featured screenshot: Sword International
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