Israel has reportedly developed a high-tech semi-autonomous unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) to gain an advantage over asymmetrical warfare.
Called ‘Jaguar’, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claim it to be “one of the first military robots in the world that can substitute combat soldiers”.
Several reports mention the sighting of this UGV that is being used by IDF to patrol the Gaza border round the clock.
— The Dead District (@TheDeadDistrict) June 19, 2021
Developed jointly by the Israel Aerospace Industries’ Elta systems and IDF, the autonomous vehicle will be critical in saving the lives of soldiers who have to patrol the fence.
This development comes in the backdrop of the recent military conflict with Hamas, in which Israel defended its territory against more than 4000 rockets fired by the militant group using the much-touted Iron Dome air defense system.
Pioneer of Unmanned Weapons
It has become increasingly clear that future wars would be fought by unmanned equipment — drones and robots.
While pioneering in various types of defense systems, Israel is also known for innovation in unmanned weapons.
This new semi-autonomous robotic ‘Jaguar’ system will be able to detect and destroy enemy targets remotely. It will be equipped with anti-tank 7.62 mm MAG machine gun, high-resolution cameras, state-of-the-art communication transmitters, powerful headlights, and a remote-controlled PA system for operational purposes, as per IDF’s website.
“The combat UGV travels autonomously, detects and bypasses obstacles, avoids collisions and trampling, calculates a route for itself and detects its surroundings by dozens of sensitive sensors,” IDF said.
But the command and control of firing at the target will be purely manual and according to human discretion.
With an electric engine, the Jaguar runs on a self-algorithm and knows when to dock itself for charging. Since batteries are a significant element of any electric equipment, in this case, a military robot, IDF has partnered with Epsilor, the manufacturer of the COMBATT 6T Li-Ion battery, as reported by National Interest.
Israel is globally recognized as the leader in the field of unmanned aerial systems. The Heron drone and its variant — the Hunter, the Long Runner, and the Birdeye — are some of the legacy aerial systems that have customers around the world.
India has leased four Heron-TP drones to be deployed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) against the Chinese in the Himalayas.
The IAI has also developed unmanned autonomous armored vehicles including those with robotics and navigational capabilities for multiple missions.
The ‘First AI War’
In the recent Gaza flare-up, Hamas unveiled new weapons like attack drones, unmanned submarine drones dispatched into the sea and an unguided rocket called “Ayyash” with a 250-kilometer range.
While it is difficult to estimate Hamas’ missile stockpile, it operates shorter-range systems like the Qassam (up to 10km or 6 miles) and the Quds 101 (up to about 16km) and a variety of longer-range systems like the M-75 (up to 75km); the Fajr (up to 100km); the R-160 (up to 120km); and some M-302s which have a range of up to 200km, capable of reaching Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
In addition, the IDF has reported the use of Kamikaze UAVs by Hamas from Gaza, as reported by Eurasian Times.
On the other hand, Israel reportedly used armed Hermes 450 and 900 drones, drone-fired Mikholit missiles, and other weaponry like gravity bombs, anti-tank missiles, etc.
Israel claimed to have fought the world’s first “Artificial Intelligence War” against Hamas, saying it adapted the AI technologies available in the civilian market for military intelligence, according to Younis Dar, a defense writer with The Eurasian Times.
AI was used in gathering data, using signal intelligence (SIGINT), visual intelligence (VISINT), human intelligence (HUMINT), geographical intelligence (GEOINT) to guide the military to carry out effective strikes.
With the development of this robotic vehicle, IDF has certainly moved a step closer to what it calls, “the future of defending Israel.”