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10:48 AM, May 28, 2018
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Israeli Military Demonstrates Armed Unmanned Vehicles
Drakonit in action (Image: screengrab from a video from Ynet News)

Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has completed the first trials of Elbit Systems Drakonit's remotely controlled weapons.

The trials included guns mounted on Drakonit firing at a series of targets at a distance of 1.5 km at a IDF firing range, Globes reported Saturday.

The trial was led by the IDF Robotics Unit in the Ground Forces Command Weapons Department with the aim of testing the firing capabilities of unmanned vehicles.

"There are no other solutions like this anywhere in the world in terms of controlling remote firing. As the trial ended successfully, we now plan integrating the new solution into the military operations of IDF forces in various theatres," IDF Robotics Unit Commander Major Slava Resnik was quoted as saying by the news website.

The trial was carried out as part of the border protection program for strengthening existing defenses along Israel's borders and reducing the dangers to lives, by integrating remotely operated autonomous vehicles from a specially designed operations room. These vehicles will in the future play a role in routine defense operations such as patrol missions, and securing border roads.

Drakonit can ability to identify targets in a way that allows it to swiftly close in on it and accurately fire lethal rounds at the defined target, at a range of 1.5 kilometers. The IDF began integrating the system into its ranks 18 months ago and it is mainly being put into armored personnel carriers for breaking through engineering obstacles. The system is currently being operated by soldiers but in the future it will become autonomous.

The system is equipped with cameras and radar enabling it to operate optimally in day and night and identify suspects in various operations - both in open terrain and in residential settings, while continually broadcasting images to its remote operator. After identifying the suspicious image, the Drakonit locks in on it and receives orders from the operations room, which can be many kilometers away, and then open fire on targets.

The system is being installed on additional remote controlled robot vehicles. The robot vehicles are already operational in the most militarily sensitive areas and the plan is for the scope of operations to be expanded. Major Resnik said, "The vision is that these systems, mounted on unmanned platforms, will replace soldiers and fighters carrying out routine security operations along the border fence and who are vulnerable to firing from ambushes or roadside charges. If there is going to be damage, then it is preferable that the metal will be damaged and not the soldiers."

 

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