|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Aug 23, 2016 04:03 AM EDT|
(Photo : Iraqi Army) ALROBOT firing its machine gun
The Iraqi Ground Forces might just become one of the first armies in the world to use an armed unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) to kill people in combat.
Media reports out of Baghdad claim the army is preparing a wheeled UGV named "Alrobot" armed with a 7.62 mm machine gun and a rocket launcher to take part in the Iraqi push to re-take Mosul from ISIS terrorists. The Iraqis are striking at Mosul from the south while Kurdish Peshmerga forces are attacking from the north.
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ISIS seized Mosul, located 400 km north of Baghdad, in 2014. It was from Mosul's Grand Mosque that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a "caliphate" encompassing Iraq and Syria.
A YouTube video shows a wheeled armored vehicle about the size of a golf cart. Alrobot, the Arabic word for robot, has four cameras, a machine gun and two launcher tubes for Russian-made Katyusha rockets. The video shows Alrobot firing its machine gun and roaring along the desert.
Alrobot can be controlled remotely by a laptop and radio link as far as a kilometer away, and the video shows the operator working on a laptop. Media reports credit two unnamed brothers with building Alrobot.
While the media reports about Alrobot haven't been confirmed, the existence of the robot illustrates the steps the Iraqi government is taking to ensure victory in the fight against ISIS.
One of the few unmanned ground combat vehicles similar to Alrobot in the U.S. Army inventory is "Crusher" first developed in 2006. A six wheeled vehicle, the Crusher has never been armed for combat. It's now being used as a base for future UGV designs.
The U.S., however, has a family of armed UGVs in the Foster-Miller TALON, a small, tracked military robot designed for missions ranging from reconnaissance to combat. The armed version of the TALON is SWORDS, or the Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Detection System.
In 2007, three SWORDS robots were deployed to Iraq armed with M249 machine guns. These robots never fired their weapons in combat, however.
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