Unmanned vehicles to patrol Israel's borders

Drakonit Photo: IDF spokesman

In trials, Elbit Systems Drakonit's remotely controlled weapons have fired accurately on suspicious targets at a distance of 1.5 kilometers.

In recent weeks, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has successfully completed the first trials in which guns mounted on a remotely controlled unmanned vehicle fired accurately. The unmanned military vehicle is the Drakonit, developed and manufactured by Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT). The trial, in which the unmanned Drakonit fired at a series of targets, was performed in an IDF firing range.

The trial was led by the IDF Robotics Unit in the Ground Forces Command Weapons Department with the aim of testing the firing capabilities of unmanned vehicles. IDF Robotics Unit Commander Major Slava Resnik told "Globes," "There are no other solutions like this anywhere in the world in terms of controlling remote firing. As the trial ended successfully, we now plan integrating the new solution into the military operations of IDF forces in various theaters."

The trial was carried out as part of the border protection program for strengthening existing defenses along Israel's borders and reducing the dangers to lives, by integrating remotely operated autonomous vehicles from a specially designed operations room. These vehicles will in the future play a major role in routine defense operations such as patrol missions, and securing border roads.

One of the main advantages of the Drakonit is its ability to identify targets in a way that allows it to swiftly close in on it and accurately fire lethal rounds at the defined target, at a range of 1.5 kilometers.

The Drakonit was developed by Elbit System's Land and C4I Division in accordance with the operational needs defined by the army's professional personnel. The IDF began integrating the system into its ranks 18 months ago and it is mainly being put into armored personnel carriers for breaking through engineering obstacles. The system is currently being operated by soldiers but in the future it will become autonomous.

The system is equipped with specially designed cameras and radar enabling it to operate optimally in day and night and identify suspects in various operations - both in open terrain and in residential settings, while continually broadcasting images to its remote operator. After identifying the suspicious image, the Drakonit locks in on it and receives orders from the operations room, which can be many kilometers away, and then open fire on targets.

Following the successful trials of recent weeks, the system is being installed on additional remote controlled robot vehicles. The robot vehicles are already operational in the most militarily sensitive areas and the plan is for the scope of operations to be expanded. Major Resnik said, "The vision is that these systems, mounted on unmanned platforms, will replace soldiers and fighters carrying out routine security operations along the border fence and who are vulnerable to firing from ambushes or roadside charges. If there is going to be damage, then it is preferable that the metal will be damaged and not the soldiers."

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 26, 2018

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2018

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Drakonit Photo: IDF spokesman
Drakonit Photo: IDF spokesman
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