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Markets And Markets: Military Robots To Have Critical Roles In Future Armies

April 18, 2018

Via Russian Media.

PUNE, INDIA (MnM) – Today, the nature of warfare has changed drastically and technology plays a key role in shaping it. The threats faced by militaries are uncertain, with populated places often being the battlefields, and enemies are innovative, networked, and intelligent. This overpowers the superiority an army may have in terms of conventional warfare capabilities. Technological advancements, however, give countries the capability to counter new enemies. One important advancement is the field of military robots.

Via Wikimedia Commons.

Military robots are an appealing alternative to human soldiers. These robots are designed to handle a broad range of tasks, from picking off snipers to carrying out target acquisition with greater efficiency as compared to human soldiers. They can be deployed in situations and areas which are dangerous and can kill or maim troops. Military robots can provide quick responses during heavy artillery fire and help reduce the number of casualties. They can also map a potentially large hostile area by accurately detecting a variety of threats. Military robots come in different shapes and sizes, depending on the requirements, and they may be remotely controlled or fully autonomous.

Militaries are focusing increasingly on the development of various new robot technologies that can be helpful for armies in case of war. For example, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is financing a robotic submarine system for several applications ranging from detecting underwater mines, engaging in anti-submarine operations, protecting ships in harbors, etc. All these benefits are driving militaries worldwide to employ robots. An analysis by Markets and Markets (MnM) indicates that the military robots industry is expected to reach $ 30.83 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 12.92% from 2017 to 2022.

Key Application Areas of Military Robots

There have been several major strides in the development of military robots due to advancements in automation and sensors. Today, robots can be equipped with automated weapon systems. Such military robots are assembled and even programmed for ease-of-use. Companies are configuring and testing advanced robots that can navigate around a series of pylons, traverse different terrains, climb ladders, remove debris, operate in a disaster situation, and close a series of valves.

Small robots are increasingly being used in military applications, from ISR to underwater mine clearance and inspection. Bluefin Robotics, a subsidiary of General Dynamics Corporation (US), developed a miniature AUV named SandShark which has a diameter of five inches and length ranging from 23 inches to 60 inches depending on the payload. The company delivered 10 SandSharks to Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) under the Adaptive Sensor System program. DARPA, along with some institutions, will use SandSharks for experimental purposes.

Via Commons.

Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR)

Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) is one of the major applications where military satellites are used. UAVs, UGVs, USVs, ROVs, AUVs, and others are extensively used in the ISR application. Small UAVs are used in the military sector mainly to provide battlefield intelligence. Currently, armed forces worldwide no longer rely on human scouts and instead use small robots, which can remain almost invisible to the enemy. These robots help monitor enemy forces or specific areas and send videos and images to the ground station with the assistance of GPS. UAVs are used for ISR operations to record potential target information that is difficult to detect. For example, WASP, a lightweight, robust, low altitude remote-controlled Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), designed and manufactured jointly by AeroVironment (US) and the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), is used by the US for surveillance and reconnaissance.

Search & Rescue

Search and rescue is another application where military robots can play a crucial role in saving lives. Majority of casualties happen due to the delay in providing necessary aid to victims. Many countries are investing heavily in minimizing the response time to save the maximum number of lives.

Search and rescue robots are highly advantageous in war. They can search, track, and rescue even in nuclear, biological, radiological, and chemical environments. They can be operated remotely by soldiers from a command center. In some cases, they can even work autonomously. Vecna Technologies is developing Battlefield Extraction-assist Robot (BEAR), which can rescue soldiers from the battlefield with no risk to human life.

Combat Support

Military robots are deployed in combat support application for anti-submarine operations, laying mines, fire support, electronic warfare, battle damage management, strike missions, aerial refueling, etc. They also play a vital role in critical missions due to their enhanced capabilities and a certain degree of autonomy. The ability to achieve information superiority, minimize collateral damage, and fight effectively in urban areas against widely dispersed forces are the advantages offered by robots. Technological developments in military robots have led to equipping them with weapons to offer lethal capabilities in combat missions, along with the ability to take decisions without human intervention.

Via Wikimedia Commons.

Mine Clearance

Mine clearance is another application where military robots can be deployed for mine reconnaissance and area clearance operations to detect and remove landmines and sea mines. A robot minimizes the risk of unexploded ordnance and other dangerous objects. Land robots and ROVs are used for mine clearance operations. For instance, in 2016, Russian military used a hi-tech ‘robot solider’ known as Uran-6 robots to clear the historic World Heritage site of Palmyra of explosives after the area was liberated from Islamic State rule. Uran-6 robots defused almost 3,000 explosive devices including mines.

Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD)

Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) robots are used to identify and disarm traps, fireworks, improvised explosive devices, and other dangerous objects in closed areas, buildings, and vehicles. They are integrated into bomb detection systems. They can carry a variety of payloads depending on the EOD mission. Some examples of EOD robots are iRobot 510 PackBo, TALON, Remotec Andros, tEODor, and Dragon Runner which have tremendous potential in the future.


Firefighting robots are increasingly being used to address emergency situations. These robots were first employed by the US Navy and named the Shipboard Autonomous Firefighting Robot (SAFFiR). Firefighting robots can detect fire, implement a broad range of fire suppressing techniques, withstand high temperatures for longer periods, and respond to different types of movements. These robots can detect any heat source, as they are equipped with a suite of cameras, a gas sensor, and a stereo infrared camera, which help them find their way through smoke and bring the blaze under control.

This article was authored by Anuj Mishra and Simpy Kumari. Their work is the latest entry for the ongoing knowledge partnership between Markets and Markets (MnM) and 21st Century Asian Arms Race. MnM is a world leader in high growth B2B research and maintains offices in India and the US. MnM’s flagship competitive intelligence and research platform RT connects over 200,000 markets and entire value chains to forecast and understand revenue opportunities in niche sectors.

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