IDF seeking expanded use of robotic systems (JERUSALEM POST) By YAAKOV KATZ 07/27/12)
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In the face of new conflicts in urban settings, the IDF is looking to
obtain a budget for the development and procurement of new robotic
systems it hopes will provide soldiers with an edge on a future
While the IDF has used robots for a number of years – mostly with
unmanned aerial vehicles in the air force and in the Combat
Engineering Corps – it is looking to expand the use of robotic
systems with the aim of minimizing risks to soldiers.
One of the systems – the AirMule – is a revolutionary UAV that can
fly like a helicopter and evacuate wounded soldiers in its hull from
Developed by Urban Aeronautics, the AirMule has vertical takeoff and
landing capabilities. The IDF Logistics Directorate is hoping that in
the General Staff’s upcoming deliberations over the defense budget,
it will secure the funding to complete the development of the
“This is a revolutionary system that can fly like a helicopter into a
battlefield and evacuate two soldiers at a time,” a senior officer
from the Logistics Directorate said this week.
The IDF’s interest in the AirMule stems from lessons learned from the
Second Lebanon War, when a large number of casualties needed to be
evacuated by air. In a future war, the IDF is concerned about the
existence of surface-to-air missile systems in Lebanon and the Gaza
Strip and the risk they pose particularly to helicopters.
If budgeted under the IDF’s upcoming multi-year procurement plan, the
AirMule could be operational within the coming five years and would
likely be deployed on a division level.
Another system, the Advance Guard, is a new unmanned ground vehicle
(UGV) that the IDF Ground Forces Command has been developing for long-
range reconnaissance missions.
The new UGV would operate like the Guardium, which is used along
Israel’s border with Gaza for routine patrols.
The Advance Guard’s basic configuration will carry a number of video
cameras, with the ability to connect to the IDF’s digital army
network and transfer data between other land systems.
It will also be capable of carrying a variety of lethal and non-
“This UGV would be able to go ahead of a force and scout out what is
happening before sending troops ahead,” an officer in the Ground
Forces Command explained.
A third system, called the Flying Elephant and under development by
Elbit Systems, is also awaiting an IDF procurement budget. A
longrange power-propelled parachute, the Flying Elephant is capable
of carrying supplies to troops operating behind enemy lines.
Powered by a propeller engine and launched by a catapult system, the
parachute uses a special handle to lift cargo once airborne.
It then use GPS to locate the landing site and has a level of
accuracy of approximately 30 meters within the designated coordinates
as well as an operational range of approximately 30 kilometers.
“This will help us get supplies to forces operating behind enemy
lines in a way that does not endanger soldiers,” the officer from the
Logistics Directorate explained.
Lastly, the IDF’s Combat Engineering Corps is developing a new robot
to uncover and neutralize improvised explosive devices. The robot,
which uses an automatic navigation system, would enter enemy
territory ahead of troops and serve as a “tracker” with the
capability to detect hidden bombs. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post
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