IAI launches Rex Mk II autonomous combat vehicle

IAI Rex Mk2 autonomous vehicle  credit: IAI

The Rex Mk II is capable of dealing with especially difficult terrain, and is equipped with movement-detecting radar systems and smart cameras.

Countless films and science fiction books deal with future wars fought by robots instead of human beings. The science is no longer such fiction. Today, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) launched its Rex Mk II, an autonomous, multi-mission, motorized land system designed to assist ground forces in a range of operations and to reduce the risk to combat soldiers' lives in difficult terrain.

The Rex Mk II, which is currently undergoing trials with the British Army, is an unmanned land vehicle that is capable of traversing different kinds of terrain. It can carry a 1.3 tonne load despite its small size, a feature that helps it to remain concealed. Among the operations it can carry out are: assistance in intelligence gathering, logistical support, evacuation of wounded combatants, and remote attack. The vehicle is equipped with both short- and long-range movement-identifying radar and smart cameras. It can carry machine guns of various calibers, and can serve as an efficient and accurate fire platform.

The vehicle is hybrid electric with a very long range, and with drive to each of its wheels. What mainly sets it apart is its ability to traverse difficult terrain, with amphibious capabilities as well. The vehicle can be controlled by a single operator using wireless communication, but it can be completely autonomous.

The Rex Mk II will be displayed at the Defence and Security International (DSEI) event in London later this week, and is expected to attract interest from various armed forces around the world. It joins the series of autonomous operational vehicles developed by IAI, such as the Jaguar border protection and intelligence gathering vehicle, the RobARC vehicle for discovering and destroying bombs, the RoBattle combat support vehicle, and the RobDozer, an autonomous combat engineering system.

Zvi Yarom, general manager of IAI unit Elta's Land Systems Division, told "Globes" that the basis of IAI's land products concept was the need to help ground forces in the field to carry out operations with minimum risk to soldiers' lives. "Our autonomous ground vehicles are in operational use on Israel's borders and in various combat units, and in other places around the world, and we are seeing growing customer demand for autonomous ground systems," he said.

The new vehicle is built in collaboration with all-terrain vehicle company Tomcar. Yarom says that its main use is for border protection - armed patrols along borders in difficult terrain, with advanced observation capabilities and rapid and accurate fire. He says that many additional applications can be assembled on it, such as sensors, drones, and more, and that this is one of the main trends in the world's advanced military forces for patrol missions and short-range fire management.

Nevertheless, asked about robot warfare, Yarom says that it is still a long way off, and that while in the coming decades combat will be characterized by growing integration of autonomous weaponry, human beings will be on the battlefield for a long time to come.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on September 13, 2021

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2021

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on September 13, 2021

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2021

IAI Rex Mk2 autonomous vehicle  credit: IAI
IAI Rex Mk2 autonomous vehicle credit: IAI
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