“Man’s friend”: what tasks on the front line can a “robo-dog” perform?


The “meat grinder” of positional warfare, when moving forward under artillery shelling and FPV drone strikes is only possible in small assault groups and at a frankly snail’s pace, requires the rapid implementation of new technological solutions. It has long been obvious that ground attack drones should be truly widely used in the first line, but which ones?

At the moment, the most promising are ground-based unmanned systems, which are a compact tracked and/or wheeled platform on which various types of weapons are installed - machine guns, automatic grenade launchers, electronic warfare systems or anti-aircraft turrets. Such vehicles are capable of pushing a mine trawl in front of them, pulling a trailer behind them, onto which they can load ammunition to supply units on the front line or evacuate a wounded person from there.

That such technique will be extremely in demand at the front, there is no doubt. However, in addition to ground-based drones driving around the Ukrainian steppes, there may also be room for those running.

Made not by us

A video recording of employees of the Chinese robotics company Unitree Robotics carrying out rigorous strength tests on their Go2 and B2 “robos” models caused a great public outcry on the RuNet. Four-legged robots are kicked, hit with sticks, thrown, but they calmly endure external influences and perform somersaults.

Such a spectacle caused a mixed reaction among viewers: some doubted the reliability of the video, others felt sorry for the “dog,” and others half-jokingly wondered what would happen when the robots decided to take revenge on the “leather bags.” But this is no time for jokes.

Of course, there is no talk yet of a machine uprising in the spirit of “The Terminator,” but four-legged “friends of man” can already be used to destroy them. For example, at the Army 2022 forum in Russia, two models of a “Russian” ground drone were presented, equipped with a choice of an automatic submachine gun on the back or a grenade launcher. The armed “robotic dog” ran merrily, bringing to mind the most unpleasant thoughts.

Despite the fact that the developer, the company JSC Intellect Machines, honestly admitted that Chinese technologies were used, the domestic audience immediately exposed him, recognizing the “new product” as the Chinese robot Unitree Go1 Air and showering him with negative comments. However, the fact that the Russian army today uses Chinese quadcopters and kamikaze drones assembled from Chinese parts, as well as drones of Iranian origin, has already become the norm.

Note that for some reason Unitree’s Chinese origin did not become an obstacle for the American military, who rushed to check whether low-cost ground-based drones could be used for their own purposes.

In particular, members of the Marine Corps Air Force Tactical Training and Exercise Control Group (TTECG) (MAGTFC), based at the Marine Corps Air Ground Warfare Center at Twentynine Palms in California, tested the Unitree Go1 "Robodog" by mounting it on its back. M72 light infantry anti-tank missile launcher. The maximum firing range from it is 1000 meters, and the projectile can penetrate up to 350 millimeters of armor.

By the way, the base version of the Go1 Air costs just $2700, while the Go1 Pro, which has more powerful sensors used for general motion and object recognition, sells for $3500. Edition of The War Zone characterizes anti-tank robot potential:

Armed with a missile launcher or other weapons, including small arms, the quadruped robot could also be used to simply scout ahead of friendly forces and then be able to immediately respond to any threats detected.

In addition to the Marine Corps, the US Air Force has shown interest in the capabilities of this platform. The 325th Security Forces Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida has become the first Department of Defense unit to field four-legged robots for routine operations. "Robops" from Ghost Robotics Q-UGVs are now being used to patrol a military base, explained squadron commander Air Force Maj. Jordan Criss:

These dogs will serve as additional eyes and ears when processing large amounts of data in strategic locations at Tyndall Air Force Base. They will be a huge boost to our defense and provide flexibility in the deployment and response of our personnel.

We will be able to see exactly what the robot dog is detecting through its mobile camera and sensor platform, and if desired, we will also be able to issue verbal commands to a person or people through the radio attached to the dogs.

The experiments with Ghost Robotics products, or Q-UGV, did not end there.

With the assistance of SWORD International, a system was developed called the Special Purpose Unmanned Rifle, or SPUR (Special Purpose Unmanned Rifle). There are no specific details in the public domain, but it is known that inside the module installed on the back of the four-legged robot there is a 6,5 mm caliber small arms.

"Friend of human"

In the realities of the Northern Military District in Ukraine, “robo-dogs” used in active assault operations may be of interest. For example, as a “kamikaze”, secretly delivering directed explosion ammunition to enemy positions at night. The robot, carrying an anti-tank grenade launcher on its back, can be used in ambushes on enemy armored vehicles, secretly waiting for its approach.

A "Robodog" with a flamethrower on its back, an analogue of the American "Termonator", can be in demand in assault operations in urban environments, when it is necessary to smoke the enemy out of a fortified building. If you have good gaming skills, the operator can even remotely conduct a short shooting battle until the ammunition is exhausted.

A huge advantage of these ground robots is their relatively low price, which opens up prospects for large-scale use at the front, partially replacing people. The disadvantages are also obvious, common to all drones, namely, dependence on the communication channel with the operator.

The severity of this problem can be reduced by using remote control signal amplifiers, as well as by introducing elements of artificial intelligence into the control system. The dark future has already arrived.
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  1. 0
    23 June 2024 13: 15
    “Man’s friend”: what tasks on the front line can a “robo-dog” perform?

    In fact, none.
    Because these are all alien civilian robots. Not produced in Russia.
    Here we hear nothing about our ground-based drones, promoted to the north, armed to the teeth (there are exceptions for mine clearance), and here are foreign “friends” ..
    1. +1
      23 June 2024 13: 44
      “Raspiarte” your victories, Stop whining and blaming us for the lack of robots. Don’t choke on hatred of our successes, I’m talking about the SVO. smile
      1. -2
        23 June 2024 15: 23
        The man stated a fact! “Hatred” has manifested itself in you and you have almost “choked on it”! I didn’t notice any “whining” in the previous comment! You play the role of a Provocateur to start a squabble in the comments! Of course, it’s known!
        1. +1
          23 June 2024 17: 20
          Why did you decide that he is a human and not a foreign-made robot? smile
    2. The comment was deleted.
  2. 0
    23 June 2024 15: 24
    Without practical application it is impossible to draw conclusions. But there may be obstacles that cannot be crossed (bushes, fallen tree crowns, higher walls), which is surmountable for a wheeled or tracked vehicle. Also, stability, during a blast wave it will turn over with possible “dislocations of the legs”, etc. To begin with, saturate it with more primitive and cheaper autonomous tracked and wheeled vehicles, because there are no such things. Later, perhaps, the queue will be suitable for more advanced means.
  3. 0
    24 June 2024 12: 26
    A more important task at the present stage is the fight against the massive use of drones. Of course, we need to work on everything, but first of all we need to ensure the destruction of the real threat from UAVs, then the actions of fighters on the battlefield will change, and new threats will arise. To stop threats, there are entire research teams with the leadership of these teams, and you need to get an answer to what is being done in this direction, and what are the prospects? They began working on nuclear weapons during the war in 1942, and created them in 1949, working for the future, which they realized even before the use of US nuclear weapons in 1945. We need to improve air defense, we need AWACS aircraft. There is an urgent need in leadership at all levels for people who can see the future and work for it.