(photo credit: Courtesy)
In the face of new conflicts in urban settings, the IDF is looking to obtain a
budget for the development and procurement of new robotic systems it hopes will
provide soldiers with an edge on a future battlefield.
While the IDF has
used robots for a number of years – mostly with unmanned aerial vehicles in the
air force and in the Combat Engineering Corps – it is looking to expand the use
of robotic systems with the aim of minimizing risks to soldiers.
the systems – the AirMule – is a revolutionary UAV that can fly like a
helicopter and evacuate wounded soldiers in its hull from any
Developed by Urban Aeronautics, the AirMule has vertical takeoff
and landing capabilities. The IDF Logistics Directorate is hoping that in the
General Staff’s upcoming deliberations over the defense budget, it will secure
the funding to complete the development of the aircraft.
“This is a
revolutionary system that can fly like a helicopter into a battlefield and
evacuate two soldiers at a time,” a senior officer from the Logistics
Directorate said this week.
The IDF’s interest in the AirMule stems from
lessons learned from the Second Lebanon War, when a large number of casualties
needed to be evacuated by air. In a future war, the IDF is concerned about the
existence of surface-to-air missile systems in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip and
the risk they pose particularly to helicopters.
If budgeted under the
IDF’s upcoming multi-year procurement plan, the AirMule could be operational
within the coming five years and would likely be deployed on a division
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Another system, the Advance Guard, is a new unmanned ground
vehicle (UGV) that the IDF Ground Forces Command has been developing for
long-range reconnaissance missions.
The new UGV would operate like the
Guardium, which is used along Israel’s border with Gaza for routine
The Advance Guard’s basic configuration will carry a number of
video cameras, with the ability to connect to the IDF’s digital army network and
transfer data between other land systems.
It will also be capable of
carrying a variety of lethal and non-lethal weapons.
“This UGV would be
able to go ahead of a force and scout out what is happening before sending
troops ahead,” an officer in the Ground Forces Command explained.
system, called the Flying Elephant and under development by Elbit Systems, is
also awaiting an IDF procurement budget. A longrange power-propelled parachute,
the Flying Elephant is capable of carrying supplies to troops operating behind
Powered by a propeller engine and launched by a catapult
system, the parachute uses a special handle to lift cargo once
It then use GPS to locate the landing site and has a level of
accuracy of approximately 30 meters within the designated coordinates as well as
an operational range of approximately 30 kilometers.
“This will help us
get supplies to forces operating behind enemy lines in a way that does not
endanger soldiers,” the officer from the Logistics Directorate
Lastly, the IDF’s Combat Engineering Corps is developing a new
robot to uncover and neutralize improvised explosive devices. The robot, which
uses an automatic navigation system, would enter enemy territory ahead of troops
and serve as a “tracker” with the capability to detect hidden bombs.
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