The last few lines of the previous paragraph have smoothly led us to the field of using heavy ground-based robots, which goes beyond purely logistic tasks. This fertile, interesting and voluminous topic we will try to open further at least partially.
G-Nius: Of course, G-Nius, an Israeli joint venture between Elbit Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries, has the most practical experience in heavy patrol and armed robots. Her first robotic device, Guardium, later renamed Guardium Mk.1, entered service in 2007 year. The Mk.1 variant was based on the Tomcar off-road chassis, and the Mk.2 version was later logically based on the chassis of the same origin, but with a 400 kg carrying capacity, which is quite suitable for cargo transportation tasks. Then came the Mk.3 version based on the Ford F-350 pickup. The original Guardium is still patrolled by Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, and the Israeli army has acquired several robots from G-Nius.
Guardium Mk1 from G-Nius has been serving for several years, providing security along the perimeter of Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv
Guardian Mk2 from G-Nius has a cargo platform on which you can pack 400 kg of supplies
Hybrid Multipurpose Vehicle (HMV), the newest option in the G-Nius robot line, was shown at Eurosatory 2014
AvantGuard Mk 1 from G-Nius based on Dumurs Tags (Tactical Amphibious Ground Support) tactical amp; shown in photo from DBMS by Elbit Systems
More focused on the combat use of AvantGuard, which is based on the apparatus Dumur Tags vehicle (Tactical Amphibious Ground Support). Four-track 1,75 tonne chassis with Kubota turbodiesel engine with HP 100 power. develops a maximum speed of 20 km / h. Four tracks each with a 0,91 meter length and an 0,42 meter width provide low ground pressure and optimum mobility. With a tonnage capacity of one ton, various types of modules can be installed, including remotely controlled combat modules (SDM). After the Mk2 version was developed based on the M113 BTR, this robot received the designation in AvantGuard Mk.1.
In general, over the past seven years, G-Nius robots have worked more than 60 000 hours and, thus, provided the company with invaluable information from the operators of these systems. The newest platform featured at Eurosatory 2014 is based on the 4x4 chassis with two powerplants on each side. It can be diesel and electric engines, which allows you to get a hybrid unit; hence the name Hybrid Multipurpose Vehicle (HMV) given by G-Nius to its newest product. The prototype was equipped with a mast optoelectronic station and a combat module from Elbit Systems. The first G-Nius robots were equipped with special systems, but at present the Israeli company has developed an additional set that does not depend on the platform, which will be described in the corresponding section.
Qinetiq: Thanks to contracts with various defense organizations, including the command of special operations forces, and a significant investment of its own funds, Quinetiq has developed an advanced modular armed robotic system Maars (Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System), which is an armed version of a reconnaissance robot. Tracked platform driven by electric motors, it accelerates to 7 km / h and weighs 165 kg.
Armed Maars robot from Quinetiq
In fact, this is a small combat vehicle armed with a 7,62 mm M240B machine gun with 450 rounds of ammunition and a quad 40 mm M203 grenade launcher. Trunks of the installation are individually selected, it can shoot lethal grenades, for example high-explosive, high-explosive fragmentation dual-use or air blasting, as well as non-lethal ammunition, for example, rubber bullets, shotgun, tear gas, smoke, light-noise and light grenades. The increase in force can begin with non-lethal options, for example, voice messages transmitted through a two-way megaphone, which also has a 120 dB siren, as well as a warning device on a green laser that alerts or dazzles a potential threat. The tower can rotate 360 ° with an angular speed of 155 ° / s, vertical pointing angles are -20 ° / + 60 °. 360 ° 12-degree viewing is provided by an optical-electronic station on a rotary support device, which includes a day camera with a digital zoom of x75 and a field of view of 320 ° and a thermal imaging camera with a resolution of 240x2 with a digital zoom of x36 and a field of view of XNUMX °. These parameters are equivalent to the characteristics of the panoramic periscope of the commander. tank; the “arrow” sights mounted coaxially with the machine gun are a day camera with optical zoom x26 and digital zoom x12 and a thermal imaging camera with a resolution of 640x480 with a field of view of 47 ° FoV and digital zoom x4, providing aiming at night or in poor conditions; The laser range finder measures the distance to the target and transmits it to the fire control system (LMS).
A shot definition system may be added to provide the LMS with target data. The “pilot” relies on front and rear day / night cameras with an 95 ° field of view. Work time varies from three to twelve hours depending on the task performed; Integrated sleep mode allows you to save battery energy by increasing the battery life up to a week. Maars can be controlled using either the QinetiQ Tactical Robotic Controller tactical controller common to most robots of the company, or via the Toughbook Laptop Controller laptop computer. The system is always controlled by the operator, who can instantly turn off the power with a special button on the hand controller. Currently, five Maars units are testing the US Marine Corps, which deals with technical-tactical method descriptions based on experience. In the future, QinetiQ is considering work on voice commands in order to reduce the burden on the operator.
Northrop Grumman: Based on the Camel logistics robot, Northrop Grumman developed an armed platform under the designation Madss (Mobile Armed Dismount Support System - mobile armed infantry support system). Due to its heavy payload, the platform is capable of receiving medium-caliber weapons, in this particular case, the 7,62-mm machine gun M240B installed in the combat module. Alternative weapons are also offered, such as the 40-mm MK-19 automatic grenade launcher, the heavy machine gun M2, the light machine gun M249, as well as the 25-mm and 30-mm guns with a small recoil. Non-lethal systems can also be installed, for example FN Herstal FN303.
Mobile Armed Dismount Support System or MADSS is an armed version of the Camel robot; in the photo during fire tests
The Turkish company Gate Elektronik has developed Robas, which has four rotary tracks to overcome various obstacles, including steps
Gate Elektronik: Among the heavy platforms, the Robas robot, developed by the Turkish company Gate Elektronik, has a rather unusual architecture. It is distinguished by four shortened tracks, each driven by an electric motor connected to a drive sprocket; tension sprocket is spring loaded for better caterpillar tension. It is unusual in the robot that each of the engines allows you to turn your caterpillar to change the angle of attack in order to optimally overcome the steps, as well as crossing over obstacles. The device Robas is able to overcome the obstacle height 800 mm.
A set of batteries ensures autonomous operation for four hours, the maximum range of action is 25 km, and the maximum speed of 10 km / h. The range from the console is one kilometer. The mass of an empty Robas robot is 250 kg, and its carrying capacity 150 kg. This allows you to install different types of systems, such as stabilized weapons, optical-electronic stations, surveillance radars, mine detection kits, silencers, etc.
Armed robotic platforms TRP2 FOB from the company Oto Melara are close to their qualifications, but may miss the time to deploy in Afghanistan
Oto Melara: While the small TRP3 NEC was designed for infantry units, the Oto Melara TRP2 model was created as a heavier and more efficient system that enhances intelligence and information gathering capabilities in the intelligence units of the Italian army. However, the situation in Afghanistan, where the risks for the soldiers guarding the forward operational bases are very high, made it necessary to speed up the process of creating an armed robot designed to patrol the perimeters of these bases. TRP2 FOB (also known as TRP2 Combat) was modified from the existing platform, which already included most of the required parameters, such as the ability to disassemble into portable modules. Caterpillars drive brushless electric motors, allowing them to reach speeds of 15 km / h. Lithium-ion batteries last for four hours. In addition to the GPS / inertial system, the first autonomous navigation module was installed to bypass obstacles, significantly reducing the operator’s load, although it becomes extremely necessary when working in the intermediate point navigation mode.
In order to increase the mobility of the robot when moving along stairs, the length of the track was increased compared to the previous prototype and a strong tail arm was added. The system is controlled by a modular control unit consisting of a joystick, communication unit and a hardened computer. The operator not only controls the movement of the robot, but more importantly, is responsible for opening fire from the onboard weaponsAs a rule, this is the Beretta ARX160 5,56 mm assault rifle or the FN Minimi light machine gun of the same caliber or the single-shot 40-mm Beretta GLX160 grenade launcher. A mast is installed behind it, on a rotating device of which a camera is attached with zoom, used to capture a target, and a fixed wide-angle camera, which provides the operator with an image of the terrain ahead, as well as the front of the robot itself. A narrow-field optoelectronics is installed on the weapon lodgement: left is the day camera, and to the right is the uncooled thermal camera from DRS Technologies.
The system has been thoroughly tested at Nettuno’s army training ground; more than 3000 small-caliber cartridges and 100 grenades were shot out. The TRP2 FOB robot is equipped with a remote drive for raising automatic weapons, which allows it to leave the base in complete safety, since the first cartridge is fed into the chamber only when it reaches the target zone. As for mobility, the robot has already hit a lot of kilometers; in addition, the possibilities for overcoming the ford were tested, and a range of more than one kilometer was demonstrated. Oto Melara has organized two 40 instructor training courses. Eight such robots were ordered by the Italian army, but since the type qualification was delayed, only two vehicles were supplied. A preliminary technical check was expected at the end of July, after which one system could be sent to the operating units for testing, and the second to complete the tests for electromagnetic compatibility. Given that the Italian contingent will soon leave Afghanistan, it is unlikely that the TRP2 FOB robot will be deployed there.
The middle ground of the armament of the TRP2 FOB robot, consisting of an 5,56-mm automatic weapon and a single-shot 40-mm grenade launcher
Although retaining the TRP2 designation, the TRP2 Rista robot has a completely different chassis, unlike the TRP2 FOB; it has a Mini Colibri touch kit from Selex ES
The TRP2 RISTA robot (Reconnaissance, Intelligence, Surveillance and Target Acquisition - intelligence, information gathering, observation, detection and seizure of a target), also known as TRP2 Cavalry, has a slightly different chassis. It is distinguished by a caterpillar in the shape of an inverted trapezium, which guarantees good mobility when moving along stairs. Since the robot is designed to perform specific reconnaissance tasks, it can be disassembled into each module worn behind its back, weighing less than 20 kg, which, if necessary, allows it to be abandoned to be transported by car to the starting point. The maximum combat weight is about 90 kg and the speed of 15 km / h on a flat surface. The onboard equipment is presented in the form of an optical-electronic station Mini Colibri from Selex ES, which rises on the arm of a pantograph type. The sensor package includes an uncooled thermal imaging camera with 320x240 resolution with 4,6 ° field of view, a day-to-day CCD camera with increased field of view from 2,4 ° to 46 ° and a laser rangefinder with an 4000 meter range that is safe for eyes. The arm can be rotated ± 180 °, and the sensor head has tilt angles ± 40 °. This robot will provide short-range reconnaissance capabilities for the Freccia Explorer 8x8 version of the machine, which will go into service with the reconnaissance units of the Italian army. Long-range intelligence is entrusted to the Horus UAV from Oto Melara, which can be launched from the barrel of a 120 mm caliber gun or from a light pipe of the same caliber installed on the Freccia Explorer reconnaissance version.
Oto Melara is also developing a TRP2 HD robot (Heavy Duty - harsh working conditions) with a mask of about 300 kg and a payload of 100 kg with the intention of replacing the existing explosive ordnance disposal systems used by the Italian armed forces. An armed version of the HD model can be armed with larger-caliber weapons, an 7,62-mm machine gun or other weapon systems. TRP2 HD is also partially funded by the Ministry of Economic Development, as it provides for development and civilian options.
The Cayman robot differs from Tecrdon by four rotating tracks, which allow the robot to overcome difficult obstacles, while its architecture allows to significantly reduce its size during transportation.
Together with its trailer, Quator from Tecdron can carry up to 150 kg; significant figure for platform weight 29 kg
Tecdron: In the category of heavy ground robots, the French company Tecdron offers three systems. The first of these, the Cayman robot has a rather peculiar architecture, since each of its four tracks rotates its own electric motor. When folded, the two rear tracks turn and lock along the body of the device, made of aircraft alloy in accordance with the company's traditions, while the two front tracks fold along the internal tracks. In order that the robot could move freely along the steps, two engines were installed in the chassis, rotating the tracks. Unusual tracked solution allows you to get optimal mobility, the Cayman robot is able to cope with 55 ° slopes and move along 50 ° slopes. The maximum speed is 6-8 km / h. The robot weighs 26 kg and can accept devices weighing up to 20 kg; the device is waterproof to a depth of one meter, and all its surfaces have anti-corrosion treatment. Additional devices can be integrated either by Tecdron or by the customer; The plug and play interface for this robot is currently under development.
Standard sensors include a front wide-angle camera with LED backlight and microphone; however, in order to improve visibility, the second camera is installed on a short hinged arm (the hand with the camera folds into the body, and during operation rises above the ground to a height of about 350 mm). The data channel provides a direct line of sight of one kilometer (300 meters in the city). The operator uses either a mini-console with an 7-inch screen or a hardened laptop to control it. The 12 lithium-ion battery with a 20 Ah capacity provides three hours of continuous operation, although the second battery doubles this time. Tecdron offers various on-board equipment, such as a video camera on a panoramic head with x36 magnification, a thermographic video camera, a laser range finder, gas sensors, etc. Cayman made its debut at the Eurosatory 2014, but comments already received from potential users will undoubtedly lead to the next improved version.
The wheel equivalent of the Cayman in the Tecdron portfolio is the Quator 4x4 robot weighing 29 kg and wheels with a diameter of 260 mm. Driving performance is slightly worse than the tracked analog, but it still copes with 45 ° slopes and 40 ° side slopes. It can overcome obstacles with a height of 200 mm. It has the same set of sensors as the caterpillar Cayman, the only difference is in the second camera, installed at the back. The lithium-ion 24 volt battery has a large 30 Ah capacity, its charge lasts for four hours. Quator can carry a weight up to 50 kg and pull a trailer with a load 100 kg. A special retainer allows you to hook up a trailer to the robot using the rear camera. Quator is equipped with the same data channel and can accept the same hardware as the Cayman robot. The system is fully implemented in mass production, and the French army is one of its users. For Quator, a caterpillar is being developed, as well as a robotic arm, which is in the final stages of development.
The Tecdron robots champion is the Quator XL 4x4. Although his name is similar to the name of the previous robot, the prefix XL speaks about its weight 260 kg and the ability to carry a load of weight 500 kg. Its main task is to transport equipment for foot soldiers, but reconnaissance equipment can be installed on it. Each wheel with a diameter of 390 mm rotates from an 1500 W electric motor, which, when multiplied by 4, provides good tractive effort and the ability to overcome 40 ° slopes and 35 ° side slopes. The height of the vertical obstacles is 300 mm, while the maximum speed 15 km / h. As with the previous model, remote control is also possible at a distance of up to one kilometer, although a semi-autonomous system will be integrated into Quator XL, which is still at the finalization stage. The robot has the typical characteristics of Tecdron robots regarding construction materials, sensors and human-machine interfaces. Quator XL is a completely finished product, but Tecrdon, nevertheless, is testing new wheel options with the aim of improving the terrain on difficult terrain.
For difficult terrain, Tecdron offers the Scarab LX, a 215 kg tracked system with a 200 kg carrying capacity, capable of overcoming vertical obstacles 40 mm in height. This robot, although suitable for reconnaissance missions, is likely to be particularly useful in demining operations and for short-range inspection in hazardous areas.
Tracked Scarab LX from Tecdron
Jordan Electronic Logistic Support: The name of the manufacturer tells us that the Lynx tracked system, offered as a multitasking platform, was developed in Jordan. The chassis weighs 120 kg and is driven by two electric motors. Two color CCD cameras with a drive are installed in the front and rear. Various on-board equipment kits are offered, including a robotic arm, blasting devices, a forklift, a camera on a panoramic head with x26 optical zoom and x12 digital zoom. The mine clearance option is known as Lynx-E / J. The Lynx-C is a combat configuration with a remote-controlled combat module, in which you install either an M16 rifle, or an 7,62-mm machine gun, or a rocket launcher. The Lynx robots are part of the Jelson Soldier Modernization Program Jels and are designed to integrate into the information management structure of this system.
KADDB: Another Jordanian company, KADDB, showed at the Sofex 2014 exhibition a new multi-function robot Multi-Functional Robot (MFR) in the 6xXNNXX configuration, in which each wheel rotates its electric motor. The front and rear wheels extend from the hull, which makes it possible to overcome de facto obstacles with an angle of 6 °. MFR can cross the ford with a depth of 90 mm, a trench with a width of 150 mm and reach speeds of 450 km / h (slowed speed 12 km / h). The battery provides three hours of work. In addition to the standard two controlled cameras (one in front and one in the back) and a bi-directional audio system with a microphone and a loudspeaker, the MFR robot can be equipped with various sets of equipment and armaments.
At the exhibition, the robot was shown with a turret. Advertising brochures talk about the range of 800 meters, although company representatives insist on two kilometers. An optron aiming camera is mounted on the turret, which allows the operator to measure the distance based on the comparative dimensions of the target - a person, a small car, a large car, a building - and thus do without a laser range finder. The turret is armed with two RPG-32 Hashim rocket launchers of Russian-Jordan development. Piezoelectric ignition guarantees 200 starts. An 7,62-mm machine gun can be added. The MFR robot is still at the prototype stage. And while it is unclear whether this new ground system will replace the robot shown in the past.
Jordanian company KADDB has developed a series of ground robots of different categories by weight. The MFR robot presented at the SOFEX 2014 exhibition was armed with two rocket launchers (pictured above)
Russian army: Russia recently showed an armed robot, which is designed to be deployed in strategic missile forces in order to increase the security of sensitive sites. The robot received the designation MRK-002-BG-57, it is based on a tracked chassis, the whole system weighs about 1100 kg. The name of the developer company was not named; Most likely, the robot has a hybrid propulsion system with a power reserve of 250 km, a maximum speed of 35 km / h and a duration of 10 hours. The power plant is located behind the stabilized combat module is installed in the center of the robotic platform.
In order to improve the security of its strategic missile forces, Russia has developed and armed the tracked robotic platform MRK-002-BG-57 with a heavy machine gun
According to Russian sources, the robot is capable of aiming, tracking and shooting at targets in automatic and semi-automatic modes. The turret is equipped with a daytime, thermal imaging camera, a laser range finder and a ballistic computer, a radar system is available for long-distance observation. Guided cameras are also installed on the chassis. Various weapons can be mounted on the robot, Kalashnikov 7,62x39 with 500 cartridges or 12,7-mm machine gun with 30 cartridges or 30-mm automatic grenade launcher, or AG-17A or AG-30. In line of sight communication is guaranteed at a distance of up to five kilometers.