Australian firms Black Sky Aerospace and Funnel Web Systems unveiled an armed ground robot with Ukraine as a potential customer.
Called the Funnel Web, the remotely-operated portable unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) allows a soldier to launch a missile without exposing themself to counter-battery fire.
“People think of robots as sensor platforms, load carriers, and for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance tasks: but we give them fangs,” AUManufacturing quoted Black Sky chief executive officer Blake Nikolic as saying.
To Save Lives
Nikolic added that the companies could see use cases such as for Ukraine, “where a missile needs to launch from a location that might put soldiers at too much risk or be otherwise inaccessible.”
He explained that the Funnel Web can push into new areas and then wait for targets to show up, after which the UGV can be command-launched remotely.
“The rockets themselves can be tailored to the intended use, geography, and required effects,” he added.
Highly rugged and mobile, the UGV is controlled by a remotely operated hand-held device.
It features a camera that relays video of its surroundings to the controllers to let them decide about a weapon launch.
The 1.5-kilogram (3.30 pounds) system can fire 60 mm by 900 mm munitions, The Sun revealed, adding that new variants could be developed that can fire different calibers.
Plans for Ukraine
According to the British tabloid, Ukrainian defense representatives have followed the system’s development “closely” and have plans to potentially deploy it in the ongoing war.
“What is happening in Ukraine now demonstrates that an innovation cycle needs to react to evolving threats and opportunities,” the outlet quoted Funnel Web Systems’ head of systems engineering Andre Preller as saying.
“The cycle needs to be three weeks, not three years, and that’s what we’re good at.”