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Next-Gen Defense: Robotic Dogs in the U.S. Air Force – Part 3

Daniel Kim Views  

Controlling robotic military dogs through a virtual reality headset

The quadrupedal robot patrols and guards a pre-determined route and is monitored by an electronic security sensor system. Soldiers in the base’s operations center can also control the robotic military dog by wearing a virtual reality headset provided by Immersive Wisdom.

The robotic military dog primarily uses a camera and sensor platform to detect abnormalities within the base. Soldiers in the operations center can also issue voice commands to the robotic military dog using the attached wireless communication system. Furthermore, the robotic military dog performs computer calculations on a large amount of data regarding strategic locations within Tyndall Air Force Base, effectively acting as the base’s eyes and ears.

A U.S. Air Force official said, “While the quadrupedal robot serves as a force multiplier, it does not replace existing military dogs.” He added, “By having the robotic military dog perform patrol and guard duties, existing forces can be deployed to areas that require more meticulous attention and training, which is a beneficial effect.”

Experts have generally given positive assessments. Brian Behling, vice president of Immersive Wisdom, said, “It will provide advanced security and detection capabilities to the Air Force in harsh environments or operational situations,” and added, “It has the potential to revolutionize base defense.”

“영화가 아닌 현실”…공군, 美처럼  ‘로봇 군견’이 부대 지킨다[이현호 기자의 밀리터리!톡]
A demonstration of the robotic military dogs deployed for patrol duties at an Air Force base. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force

It seems that it won’t be long before robotic military dogs replace patrol dogs patrolling and guarding the Korean Air Force airbases. Robotic military dogs will replace the military German Shepherd dogs responsible for a part of the patrol and guard duties at Air Force airbases.

According to the Air Force, due to personnel reductions, limitations are expected in operating dog handlers at airbases. As an alternative, they have begun studying the feasibility of replacing patrol dogs with ‘robotic military dogs.’

They are currently studying whether there would be any problems with patrol and guard duties if Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers, presently responsible for the central facility patrol and guard duties at airbases, are replaced with robotic military dogs. Based on the study, they are considering whether to introduce them, and it is only a matter of time before the Korean Air Force, like the U.S., introduces robotic military dogs, according to military and external forecasts.

In response, the Air Force explained, “Currently, military dogs are somewhat limited in dealing with human accidents and controlling aggression.” It added, “We are researching ways to overcome the limitations of mission performance at airbases, such as the operational limitations of dog handlers due to personnel reductions.” The Air Force did not deny that they are introducing robotic military dogs.

If robotic military dogs are introduced, the structure is expected to change from one dog handler performing tasks with one military dog to one dog handler performing tasks with multiple robotic military dogs. The Air Force emphasized that they would study whether this transition would cause any problems in the safety of base defense and how feasible it would be.

An alternative to the operational limitations of dog handlers due to personnel reductions

The fact that the U.S. Air Force is currently operating a quadrupedal robotic military dog has also contributed to the Korean Air Force’s consideration of introducing robotic military dogs. The U.S. Air Force is said to be achieving results beyond expectations.

The U.S. Air Force operates a Vision 60 quadrupedal patrol robot, a robotic military dog produced by Ghost Robotics. This robotic military dog performs pre-patrolling for any risk factors before the troops are deployed to the mission area. It can run for up to 3 hours at a speed of 3 meters per second.

LIG Nex1 announced its plan to acquire Ghost Robotics in Korea last December. To become the major shareholder of Ghost Robotics, LIG Nex1 needs to receive approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) in the future. Ghost Robotics, located in Philadelphia, U.S., is known for producing robot dogs that walk on four legs and supplying robotic military dogs to the U.S. military.

This is seen as a preemptive measure in anticipation of the possibility that patrol and guard duties for military unit defense and various government and key security facilities could be replaced by robotic military dogs. In Korea, a robotic military dog patrolling the exterior of the presidential office in Yongsan was also captured on camera in May 2022.

To Read Part 1…
To Read Part 2…

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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