Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR Sept 2015 Contents 29
detectors and high assurance weapon control
AN EXAMPLE OPERATIONAL
UGS FROM ISRAEL
Geared for use in complex combat missions, the
Guardium MK III, Unmanned Ground Combat
VehicleTM (UGCV) is fully autonomous, featuring
excellent reconnaissance and weapons operation
capabilities, as well as superb manoeuvrability in even
the harshest warfare conditions.
Its product description states “The Guardium MK III
creates deterrence by rapid closure of the sensor-to-
shooter loop, identifies and classifies hostile activity,
gives advance warning to military forces, and provides
a threat response all without endangering personnel.
“The Guardium MK III is part of the G-NIUS
Unmanned Ground Systems suite of unmanned
ground vehicles for defense and security applications.”
The Israeli Defence Force uses Guardium
extensively for border monitoring duties.
AND FROM THE UNITED STATES
The Talon was first used in 2000, and well over
3,000 units have been distributed world-wide. Talon
has been used in thousands of separate battlefield
missions by US-led coalition forces considered too
dangerous for military personnel. These have included
entering booby-trapped caves, searching for IEDs, or
simply scouting a red combat zone. It is primarily
used for bomb disposal, and was incorporated with
the ability to be waterproofed to 30 metres depth so
that it can search the seas, lakes, rivers and large
wells for explosives as well.
A Wikipedia reference reports “The Talon is one
of the fastest Unmanned Ground Vehicles on the
market, easily keeping pace with a running soldier.
It can operate for 7 days on one charge, and is even
capable of climbing stairs.
“This robot was used at Ground Zero during the
“Like its peers, the Talon was designed to be
incredibly durable. According to reports, one unit fell
off a bridge into a river and the soldiers simply turned
on the control unit and drove it out of the river.”
US Marine Corps has the Gladiator Tactical
Unmanned Ground Vehicle (TUGV) program which
was “developed to conduct Ship to Object Maneuver
(STOM) missions through the use of a medium
sized, robotic system to minimize risks and eliminate
threats to Marines during conflict. The Gladiator is
able to perform surveillance, reconnaissance, assault
and breaching missions within its basic technical
The US Army Multifunctional Utility/Logistics and
Equipment (MULE) project has a quadruped robot
that is being developed as a ‘pack mule’ to traverse
difficult terrain carrying soldiers’ combat supplies.
Google has acquired Boston Dynamics, the company
that developed this robot known affectionately as
BigDog, but more formally as LS3 (Legged Squad
Support System) in military parlance.
A Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
(DARPA) spokesperson said “The vision is a trained
animal and its handler,” adding that a squad leader
would learn 10 basic commands to tell the robot to
do such things as stop, sit, follow him tightly, follow
him on the corridor, and go to specific coordinates.
“The technology of the robot focuses on mobility,
perception and human-robot interaction.”
Recently Google’s BigDog LS3 robot ‘pack mule’
got full military testing, carrying 180kg for 32 km
across mixed terrain. The robot was able to follow
troops by tracking a tracer worn on the leg of a
A July 2014 report in the UK’s Daily Mail Australia
quoted LCPL Brandon Dieckmann, who was given
the task of controlling BigDog ‘Cujo’ at RIMPAC in
Hawaii, as saying: “I was surprised how well it works.
I thought it was going to be stumbling around and
lose its footing, but it’s actually proven to be pretty
reliable and pretty rugged. I’d say 70 to 80 percent
of the terrain we go through, it can go through. There
are times when it is going to fall over, but most of
the time it can self-right and get back up on its own.”
iRobot Corporation’s 710 Warrior tracked multi-
mission 150 kg UGS can travel at speeds of up to
13 km/hr. They are used for explosives checking.
Reportedly more than 5000 units have already been
TWO US UGS UNDER
Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot (BEAR) - a mainly
privately funded project under development of a
remotely controlled humanoid robot which will be
used to extract wounded soldiers and fatalities
from the battlefield with no risk to human life. The
robot’s cameras and microphone allow an operator
to remotely control the BEAR.
Ripsaw - a privately developed unmanned light tank
which can be sent out ahead of troops to fire at targets
while remotely controlled from another armoured
vehicle. This means troops are not exposed to fire from
adversaries until they have good situational awareness
and can use their own weapons for the greatest effect.
PLA WORKING TO DEVELOP
UNMANNED ARMOURED VEHICLES
Chinese engineers are working on development of
UGS, but as yet there is no evidence they are widely
deployed within the PLA. However, this situation will
“Unmanned ground vehicles will play a very
important role in future ground combat. Realising
that, we have begun to explore how to refit our
armoured vehicles into unmanned ones,” said
Major General Xu Hang, president of Beijing’s PLA
Academy of Armoured Forces Engineering. “Though
we have yet to develop unmanned tanks, I think it is
an irreversible trend that computers will gradually
replace humans to control those fighting machines.”
In June 2014, NORINCO (China North Industries
Group Corp), one of the country’s leading defence
contractors, established China’s first research
centre dedicated to the development of UGS.
At the Zuhai Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition,
November 2014, NORINCO showed its Sharp
Claw 1 UGS which can be used by infantry units
to perform reconnaissance missions and hit enemy
NORINCO described their UGS on display in
these terms “The Sharp Claw 1 UGS was armed
with a 7.62mm light machine gun and fitted with
camera and electro-optic equipment.
“The Sharp Claw 1 UGS has a length of 70 cm and
a height of 60cm. It can be used to detect and attack
targets seeking cover in buildings, caves, or tunnels. It
can carry out autonomous safe driving, multi-channel
communication, long-distance remote controlled
firing and reconnaissance by various means.
“The Sharp Claw 1 is remotely controlled by
an operator equipped with a with a lightweight,
wearable control unit. Agile and combat-ready,
Sharp Claw 1 is a technological breakthrough,
taking its place on the frontline to keep warfighters
at a safe distance from enemy fire while effectively
executing their security missions.
“Sharp Claw 1 can be positioned in remote areas
where personnel are currently unable to monitor
their security, and can also carry either a direct or
indirect fire weapon system.
“This is an optic-electronic integrated detector,
which can horizontally rotate in all directions and
pitch within a certain range. The detector has two
lens, one to detect in daytime and the other installed
with infrared vision for night operation. So it means
this detector can probe and identify targets within
a one kilometre range in all weather, day and night.
“This mini unmanned ground platform moves on
rubber tracks forward or backward and in all-terrain
conditions. The vehicle is highly manoeuvrable and
flexible because of its mini size and track, and can
cross small ditches, slight slopes and even climb
20/08/2015 5:00:10 PM
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