Thursday, March 08, 2007

Viper and Heron- Israel's latest war robots


This is not a toy. Meet the ViPer, the newest weapon of the Israeli Defence Forces, a hunter-killer robot designed expressly for urban guerrilla warfare. It shoots a mini-Uzi or plants stun grenades. This deadly counterinsurgency gadget is the size of a vacuum cleaner and sniffs out bombs. According to Elbit Systems, the manufacturers, ViPer moves relentlessly on its treads "undeterred by stairs, rubble, dark alleys, caves or narrow tunnels". There's a videocam and some laser sensors on board, so IDF soldiers can aim it from a distance with considerable precision or program in electronically. The Elbit press release points out how the new ViPer could lower the risk to soldiers in hand-to-hand combat situations akin to last summer's streetfighting against Hizbullah.
Israel plans to deploy the VIPeR among its infantry units after field tests are done. The makers also hope to market this little robot to foreign police units or American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. If only it could negotiate as well, the ViPer would be like R2D2 on steroids, packing heat. No wonder scientists in Korea are trying to come up with a robot ethics code.

"What was science fiction until not so long ago is now becoming operational...tools that will create a revolution in counterterrorism," said an Israeli weaponry expert. A soldier can haul a ViPer to the battle in a backpack, because it weighs less than 5 pounds.


Meanwhile, Israel’s Air Force has a new Heron (Mahatz in Hebrew), a drone with a 50-foot wingspan, which can fly up to 30,000 feet high with a 550-pound payload. It can fly up to 30 hours without refueling and can be operated completely by remote. The large UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle in mili-speak) also can pinpoint the launch sites of missiles and is said to be able to launch air-to-surface missiles, eliminating targets as far away as Iran.

The Heron is considered cutting-edge and can carry a heavier payload than any other aerial drone. Israel already has rush orders to send Herons out to American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If the other side manages to gear up and fight with robots as well, perhaps there will only be civilian casulaties in future combat.

9 comments:

perturbed said...

When an army can strike at an enemy with no risk to lives on its own side, there is less restraint in using force. That already is true with air strikes and targeted assassinations from drones.
We need a big yellow light to slow down development of full-on robot armies. Disproportionate attacks are inevitable. Civilians will suffer

Izzy Bee, you seem preoccupied with gadgets, G-d, and guerrillas. There must be more diversions for you in the Holy Land

Grand Exalted Druid said...

Evolution did not give us claws or armor plating or stink spray.

Evolution DID give us a brain advanced enough to devise and use tools to compensate for our physical "shortcomings".

Robots are just an modern version of the sharp rock on a long stick.

To say that one must thine enemy in the eye before gutting him is pure, romantic nonsense spewed by those who have no stomach for what must be done in the name of freedom and peace.

aiyipianni said...
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aiyipianni said...
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bing said...
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alsowins said...

White Tiger says that such robotics may save many of our soldiers lives. Would you prefer to have a drone, or your son, sent on one of these missions?
In war, our primary concern is to kill the Bad Guys. If we don't, they will kill us. If you, personally, really want to die, there is always Hara Kiri, no?