Iraqi security forces just announced that a robot vehicle has joined its ranks and has participated in its first ever deployment in Mosul.
The Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV), dubbed “Alrobot” was deployed by Iraq’s People’s Mobilization Unit (PMU) as part of its ground assault against ISIL forces currently in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. A PMU spokesman speaking in a Motherboard article said that the robot is performing better than anticipated.
A project by two Iraqi brothers, the UGV was first shown earlier this year. It features a 12.7 mm cannon equipped with thermal cameras. The cannon is mounted with two 70 mm rockets that are capable of striking targets 3 km away (1.86 miles). The robot is not autonomous though, with the unmanned vehicle requiring two people to remotely-operate it – one mans the gun while the other drives the vehicle.
The robot joins a harsh battlefield where unmanned vehicles have already seen combat, such as the US’ RQ-1 Predator, which was mainly used for surveillance and reconnaissance missions. According to the PMU spokesman, the robot has three primary missions: night missions, daytime combat, and support duties.
Vehicles like these can be useful for the military since they put soldiers away from harm when they operate the vehicles. They are able to enter dangerous areas where an ordinary soldier could face certain death. Recent developments in the military show how robots will transform the face of warfare in the future.