New Israeli robot to take heat off IDF infantry

A new, smart Israeli military robot can fight its way down dark alleys, through caves and over rubble, seeking out bombs and booby traps along the way and warning human foot soldiers of enemies and danger ahead, its manufacturer said Thursday. Elbit Systems, one of Israel's leading defense electronics companies, said its robotic point man, designated VIPeR, is small and light enough to be carried into battle on a soldier's back, but the 11 kilogram (25 lb), 23 centimeter (9 inch) tall tough guy packs a full-size punch. The remote-controlled unit can be fitted with a mini-Uzi automatic pistol, fragmentation, stun and smoke grenades, explosives sniffer and day and night vision cameras, Elbit said. It can climb stairs and find its way around with preprogrammed mapping software. The company said that the IDF was planning to carry out operational trials with the VIPeR with a view to deploying it with infantry units. Elbit said the VIPeR is currently making its first public appearance at the winter exhibition of the Association of the United States Army, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.