American Marines conducted trials of a hybrid military system by attaching an educational version of the M72 anti-tank rocket launcher to the back of a robot dog. These tests, which took place in California in September, indicate a growing interest among the military in the concept of arming four-legged ground-based robotic systems, according to The Drive.
The military did not provide detailed information about the system, but photos and videos clearly show that it utilizes the Chinese-made robot dog, Unitree Go1, which is readily available on Amazon and costs approximately $3,500 in its most advanced configuration.
The weaponry system mounted on the robot dog’s back consists of a mount designed to hold and fire M72 rocket launchers, as well as a GoPro camera for recording and transmitting video. Various rails are also installed at different points on the system, which can be used to attach additional cameras, targeting lasers, and other tactical accessories.
In the video, it is evident that the robot effectively handles recoil when fired from a stationary position, remaining almost stationary. The Marines also demonstrated how to reload a similar system in field conditions.
“Instead of having a Marine hold the weapon system, manipulate the safety mechanisms, and fire it directly, a remote firing mechanism could be installed, allowing the soldier to manipulate the safety mechanisms from a safe distance while the system moves forward toward its target,” explained Marine Lieutenant Aaron Safadi.
Testing such a system will not lead to its immediate deployment in the military, as stated in an official statement by the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR). According to them, it is currently a concept demonstration that may be adopted as a weapon in the future.
It is worth noting that companies like Boston Dynamics and other robot manufacturers have promised not to use their robot dogs as weapons. At the same time, Ghost Robotics, a company from Philadelphia, did not make such commitments and demonstrated an armed robot dog at a military technology exhibition in 2021.
Recall that two Boston Dynamics robots, known as Spots, played a crucial role in decommissioning the Dounreay nuclear station in Scotland. The nuclear facility operated for 25 years, and Spot robots played a significant role in surveying the radioactive zone during its final closure.
Source: The Gaze