October 12, 2017

WELL, THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY, YOU KNOW: Armed Ground Robots Could Join the Ukrainian Conflict Next Year.

Ukrainian military leaders and defense industry officials showed off their experimental Phantom robot on Monday at the Association of the U.S. Army show in Washington, D.C. It has an extendable frame that can be outfitted with treads like a tank or with six wheels, and armed with anti-tank weapons, grenade launchers, or machine guns. Currently in testing, the Phantom could be sent into action against Russian-backed forces as early as next year, they said.

Russia, too, has a wide array of ground bots it could dispatch to the conflict, though Moscow has not signaled its readiness to do that. But Russian drones of the flying variety have been used to tremendous effect there. They identify enemy positions to target fires. They hijack cell-tower signals to deliver false messages and texts, an effect experienced by Ukrainian soldiers and even NATO soldiers outside the country.

There’s video of the Phantom at the link, which doesn’t look much more dangerous than an RC car.