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Military Robotics: Robots in the Military

The utilization of Robotics in military is well shown by US army. Osama and other terrorists were tracked by these military robots. They are robust, they are obedient, they are daring, they don’t have fear of death, and most important they have proved themselves in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, terrorists are terrified by drone attacks. The utilization of robotics technology in military led to a new field in robotics i.e. Military Robotics.
  Representational Image Of A Military Drone
Fig. 1: Representational Image Of A Military Drone
Military robotics isn’t about creating an army of humanoids but utilization of robotics technology for fighting terror and defending the nation. Thus, military robots need not be humanoids or they not necessarily need to carry weapons, they are just those robots that can help the armed forces. The opportunities offered by these technologies are boundless. Apart from army research centers there are many private firms also which provide military robots for defense forces like Foster Miller,21st Century Robotics, EOD Performance, Northrop Grumman, General Atomics etc. They have created many job opportunities and are developing this sector. It is expected that its market will extend up to $9.8 billion by 2016.


The vision of robot army isn’t a present day concept. The introduction of military robots is dated back from 1898 by the introduction of radio boats by Nicola Tesla. It was visualized by many visionaries in the last century. They were used by Germans and Russians in Second World War. Russians used Teletanks and Goliath were used by Germans. The Teletanks were equipped with DT machine guns, flamethrowers and smoke container to provide a smokescreen. The use of Goliath which is a mobile landmine in World War II by the Third Reich's forces also marked as a turning point in the history of military robots. And today the development in this technology is well demonstrated by military robots in Afghanistan and Iraq. At present the most commonly used military robot is the unmanned aerial vehicle IAI Pioneer and RQ-1 Predator.
One threatening question must be arising, as in every science fiction movie, it is shown that robots have gone crazy and started hunting us, will they go crazy in real world also? Actually, at present it is almost impossible. The developers have very well taken care of this aspect. Most of the military robots are remotely controlled by a human. And if someone has gone crazy then there is a reset button which clear there memory and they again come back to normal state. But with the development in artificial intelligence and military robots, there should be greater attention to implicate their ability to make autonomous decision.


Soviet TT-26 Teletank, 1940
Fig. 2: Soviet TT-26 Teletank, 1940
Today military robots use very sophisticated and advance technology for operations. They use different technologies for reconnaissance, guidance and weaponry. They basically use GPS, Fiber Optic Tethers, LIDARs for guidance. GPS is based on satellite connections and is even used in mobile phones. The fiber optics is a hi-tech and hi-speed communication system especially used by defense. LIDARs are based on laser communication and nowadays used by traffic police to detect over speeding vehicles. For reconnaissance they use other technologies like cameras, electronic RF sensor, RADAR, etc. The robots are mainly used for reconnaissance purposes but they can also carry lethal and non-lethal weapons like AGM-114 Hellfire missiles, M249 saw machine guns, ammo can, bomb diffusal kits, grenades, etc.


Military robots come in different shapes and sizes as per the task they are designated for. In the development of military robots, we can consider US Mechatronics which has created or developed a working automated sentry gun and is presently developing it further for commercial as well as military use. As far as military robots development is concerned, we cannot forget MIDARS which is a four-wheeled military robot. This robot is outfitted with many cameras, radar, and a firearm that performs arbitrary patrols around a military base automatically. Their size can vary from a small bot TALON and large UAV MQ-1 Predator. Their design is also task specific like, predator is for surveillance and attack from air so it is more like an airplane while TALON is for attack from ground so it is more like an armoured tank. There are three popular classes of military robots i.e. UGVs, UUVs and UAVs.A Typical Military Robot for ground attack
Fig. 3: A Typical Military Robot For Ground Attack


UGVs i.e. Unmanned Ground Vehicle are those which attack from ground. They have various sensors, cameras, arms mounted on them. The UGV like big-dog has been devised as four legged bot it can carry heavy loads that were used to be carried by soldiers. It has capability to carry load on uneven terrain. Robots like packbots are so compact, light and robust that army can carry them on their back. Controlled by a Pentium processor that has been designed specially to withstand rough treatment, Packbot's chassis has a GPS system, an electronic compass and temperature sensors built in. Packbot manufacturer iRobot says Packbot can move more than 8 mph (13 kph), can be deployed in minutes and can withstand a 6-foot (1.8-meter) drop on concrete -- the equivalent of 400 g's of force. Its design alows it to flip also. 
An Image showing UGVs Packbot Robot with diffrent parts
Fig. 4: An Image Showing UGVs Packbot Robot With Diffrent Parts
The other most popular robot is TALON. It is manufactured by Foster Miller. The TALON is a man-portable robot operating on small treads. It weighs less than 100 lbs (45 kg) in its base configuration. TALON is operated with a joystick control, has seven speed settings (top speed is 6 feet/1.8 meters per second) and can use its treads to climb stairs, maneuver through rubble and even take on snow. An Image of TALON Robot belong to UGV's
Fig. 5: An Image Of TALON Robot Belong To UGV's
Versatility has been designed into the TALON as well, with multiple possible configurations available that adapt the robot to the situation at hand. The basic TALON includes audio and video listening devices and a mechanical arm. A lightweight (60-lb/27-kg) version omits the arm. TALONs were used for search and rescue at WTC Ground Zero, and they have been used in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq for the disposal of live grenades, improvised explosive devices and other dangerous explosives.


The UAVs are those which are used from air. They shouldn’t be confused with missiles. Actually missiles are weapons but UAVs aren’t weapons itself but they carry weapon. Some of the UAVs are RQ-11A/B Raven, RQ-5A / MQ-5A/B Hunter, MQ-1 Predator , MQ-9 Reaper etc. Northrop Grumman and General Atomics are the dominant manufacturers in UAV industry. There are other countries except USA also in UAV technology like Israel, Europe, India, etc. which have successfully developed UAVs and are developing it further.
The military uses several different flying robots, mainly for reconnaissance. Instead of UGVs, these are known as UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), and they are sometimes referred to as drones. UAVs look like model aircraft, and they range in size from small planes that can be held by a person and launched with a good throw, like the FQM-151 Pointer, to full-size airplanes that operate by remote control, like the RQ-4A Global Hawk.
RQ-4A Global Hawk
Global Hawk Specifications
An image of RQ-4A Global Hawk in UAV's Military Robot
Fig. 6: An image Of RQ-4A Global Hawk In UAV's Military Robot
  • Length: 44 ft 4.75 in (13.53 m)
  • Wingspan: 116 ft 2.5 in (35.42 m)
  • Height: 15 ft 2.5 in (4.64 m)
  • Weight empty: 14,800 lb (6,710 kg)
  • Weight max: 25,600 lb (11,600 kg)
  • Speed: 403 mph (648 kph)
  • Ceiling: 65,000 ft (19,800 m)
  • Range: 11,730 nautical miles (21,720 km)
  • Endurance: 36 hours
  • Propulsion: Rolls-Royce/Allison F137-AD-100 turbofan
FQM-151 Pointer
Pointer Specifications
A still of FQM-151 Pointer in UAV's Military Robot
Fig. 7: A still Of FQM-151 Pointer In UAV's Military Robot 
  • Length: 6 ft (1.83 m)
  • Wingspan: 9 ft (2.74 m)
  • Weight: 9.6 lb (4.3 kg)
  • Speed: 50 mph (80 kph)
  • Ceiling: 985 ft (300 m)
  • Mission radius: 2.7 nautical miles (5 km)
  • Endurance: Primary batteries - 1 hour; Rechargeable batteries - 20 min
  • Propulsion: Electric motor


The next class is UUVs i.e. unmanned underwater vehicle. These marvels have capabilities to be operated underwater.  UUVs were envisioned to contribute to the following SSN mission areas: Mine Warfare (MIW); Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR); and undersea environmental sensing and mapping. The Talisman UUV is a fully autonomous unmanned mini-sub designed and made by BAE Systems. It has the capability to perform shoreline reconnaissance when the risks may be deemed too high, or conditions unsuitable, for human operators. The Talisman system comprises a vehicle and remote control console. The vehicle can be re-programmed in mid-mission by satellite and features a carbon fibre hull giving it a stealth-like profile and low observability. Talisman can carry a wide variety of payloads, such as image capture, environmental sensors or mine counter measures.
An Image of Talisman UUV designed by BAE Systems
Fig. 8: An Image Of Talisman UUV Designed By BAE Systems 


Predator Drone UUV Military Robot
Fig. 9: Predator Drone UUV Military Robot
General Atomics
Runway (ISA)
Improved, 3000 ft x 100 ft
length: 27 ft
wingspan: 48.7 ft
height: 6.9 ft
weight: 1,130 lbs (empty)
A/Vs in Baseline
Data Link
Frequency: C-band
Line of Sight: yes
Satellite: yes (UHF and Ku)
GPS: yes
Line of Sight on GCS
Unlimited via satellite
Power Plant
Rotax 912 pusher
Type: 110 LL avgas
capacity: 110 liters
24 hours on station at 500NM
40 hours
IR (day-night)
SAR(all weather)
Operational Altitudes (ISA)
Up to 26,000 ft MSL
Stall: 54 kts
Cruise: 70-90 kts
Dash: 120 kts
Max Gross Take-off Weight
2250 lbs
Weather limits
T/O cross winds: 15 kts
T/O head winds: 30 kts
rain: No
Visible moisture: limited
Icing: No
Turbulence: Light
Automatic Return Home on Data Link Loss
Emergency Recovery
Relay Flight Capability
In development
Multiple AV Control
Multiple AV Control
Yes, autonomous flight
Control Transfer to Another Shelter
Remote controlled, UAV
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems
First flight
January 1994
July 1995
Primary user
United States Air Force
Number built
360 (285 RQ-1, 75 MQ-1)
Unit cost
~ $4.5 million
Developed from
General Atomics GNAT
MQ-1C Grey Eagle
Developed into
MQ-9 Reaper
Diagram Explaining Structure And Design Of Predator Drone in Military
Fig. 10: Diagram Explaining Structure And Design Of Predator Drone In Military 
Structure and design of predator
The Predator uses a lightweight, 4-cylinder snowmobile engine, which powers a rear-mounted propeller, making the Predator a "pusher"-type aircraft. It carries cameras and other sensors but has been modified and upgraded to carry and fire two AGM-114 Hellfire missiles or other weapons. Hence, it’s no wonder that technology is moving forward in the direction of creating army of robots that will not just make our life comfortable but also safe.


In the near future robotics will reach new heights. All the dreams where robots do our jobs will come true. And military is not an exception. At present there are many hostile and painful tasks that have to be performed by humans but in near future most of them will be done by them. In future news headlines would be like”5 robos saved bank robbery”, “a robo team has vanished terror camp, no casualties reported” and many more. This future is very close.
There are many research and developments going on for replacing robots for humans in army. In U.S. there is a project going on, named project Alfa, a U.S. Joint Forces Command rapid idea analysis group, which is conducting a study focusing on the concept of developing and employing robots that would be capable of performing not all but almost all the functions in battlefield. The study, appropriately titled, “Unmanned Effects: Taking the Human out of the Loop,” suggests that by as early as 2025, the presence of autonomous robots, networked and integrated, on the battlefield might not be the exception, but, in fact, the norm. In support of the study, USJFCOM sponsored a workshop at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. The workshop addressed by experts in robotics and artificial intelligence, was designed to develop a skeletal operational concept for the employment of autonomous machines and to raise awareness throughout DoD about current robotic technology and it’s future potential on the battlefield. According to Gordon Johnson, the Unmanned Effects Team leader for Project Alpha, the aim of the study was to articulate a vision for the use of robotic forces and promote the formation of a Department of Defense-level office that will coordinate and integrate efforts across the armed services, ultimately resulting in joint-service development of unmanned effects (UFX), rather than the course of service-centric research that currently exists.
Now a variety of military robots is under consideration. TAC i.e. Tactical Autonomous Combatant is capable in working on ground, air, space, or undersea environments, and in humiliating conditions of extreme heat or cold. Further they will be capable of operating in chemically, biologically, or radioactive contaminated environments. As the name suggests TAC be autonomously operated or with very little human intervention though humans have to guide them but humans have to just guide them from miles away.
The present technology of military robotics is also amazing. The predator which is a latest UAV in service of USAF and Central Intelligence Agency(CIA) is in use since 1995, has seen combat over Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bosnia, Serbia, Iraq, Yemen and Libya .




I like it



I like it

good story crip gang



I love UGV robot


make the militaryinator

I wish that robots could dab