Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR Sept 2015 Contents 28
An Israeli Guardium III on patrol (Credit: G-NIUS)
he military requires UGS for tasks which
are hazardous or impossible for personnel
to perform, dirty or boringly routine. They
are the land counterpart to aerial and
underwater unmanned systems.
Typically these UGS are equipped with sensors
to feed live video and environmental measurements
back to a safe location, also carrying tools and/or
weapons. They may be subject to remote control
or be autonomous i.e . have the ability for limited
decision-making in the conduct of their tasks.
Those possible tasks can include: IED searches
and neutralisation; bomb disposal; ground
surveillance; checkpoints operations; urban street
presence; military raids in urban settings; travel
ahead of infantry to identify potential ambushes;
draw “first fire” from adversaries to locate them;
fighting fires at buildings containing explosive
materials; rescue and recovery of wounded and
fatalities from the battlefield.
One UGS features laser targeting and a cannon
to carry out reconnaissance and patrol missions,
detect and destroy stationary or moving targets,
and provide fire support for security personnel at
guarded facilities. It is currently remotely operated but
future plans are to include an autonomous artificial
AUTONOMOUS OR REMOTE CONTROL?
Remote control uses video cameras and sound
sensors to direct movement across the ground. In
some scenarios it can be operated from a tethered
lead. In other cases radio control is used. This also
gives a lot of discretion over actions taken, which is
important in seeking to avoid civilian casualties.
On the other hand, autonomous control systems
don’t rely on a human controller, although setting up
missions and debriefings has personnel involvement.
The attraction of fully autonomous robots lies in them
being able to work for an extended duration, 24/7 if
necessary, without breaks or human intervention. In
this, they are extremely useful in monitoring borders,
urban settings, and entry to certain premises.
The downside of autonomous UGS is their difficulty
in distinguishing between civilians and combatants.
This is particularly true when the adversaries disguise
themselves as civilians to pass the UGS. Therefore,
firepower will always have to be strictly limited in
AUSTRALIA’S USE OF UGS
Army has used several UGS mainly focused on
explosive detection and removal. For operations in
Afghanistan, Army purchased and used the Talon
UGS (see below) for IED identification and disposal.
It was also used for identification of hazardous
materials and combat engineering support.
Following on from these operational experiences,
Defence had project LAND 3025 Phase 1 which
provided some initial capabilities. These are being
extended now in Phase 2 Deployable Special
Operations Engineer Regiment (SOER) Capability
which “plans to continue to improve the specialist
counter Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear
and Explosive (CBRNE) capability within the ADF.
This will be achieved by expanding the capabilities
of the SOER and improving specialist CBRNE
reconnaissance and search support to Special
Phase 2 is currently planned to receive First Pass
Approval from FY 2016-17 to FY 2017-18, with
a decision to follow within a further year of FPA,
to reach Initial Operating Capability within 12-24
months of that decision.
Codarra Advanced Systems is a wholly Australian
owned project management and systems engineering
company and also a member of Team Australia. They
have developed a concept demonstrator of their
SILVERBACK Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV).
Intended for use as a remote control reconnaissance
vehicle, Codarra is continuing to enhance the design
with new features and capabilities.
Their Team Australia product description states
“SILVERBACK is multi-terrain capable and designed
for a 16 hour endurance. Range and loiter capability
can be increased by installing additional (optional)
“SILVERBACK possesses a video surveillance and
audio communications capability that, combined with
its manipulator arm, distinguish it from other passive
“SILVERBACK can enhance the survivability of
personnel by improving their situational awareness,
and reducing their exposure to unnecessary risks
from land based threats.
“The SILVERBACK development path has the
flexibility to include user defined technologies. The
current plan includes laser-range finder, autonomous
navigation, deployable sensor devices, motion
GEOFF SLOCOMBE // VICTORIA
Small tracked UGS are a common
sight on television news, where they
are shown deployed by specialist
police units to retrieve suspicious
objects for inspection, or even to blow
them up insitu.
20/08/2015 4:59:49 PM
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