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China - Military Robots

Some published science fiction a long time ago imagined battle scenes of robot soldiers in the future. Now this fantasy is becoming a reality due to the rapid development of automation technology in recent years. Military robots replace individual soldiers on the battlefield, which can greatly reduce the casualty rate of military personnel on the battlefield. Robots can return to the battlefield by mechanically repairing and replacing parts. The machine can be mass produced and hardly needs any training.

Military robots have stronger battlefield awareness than individual soldiers, and can detect potential dangers on the battlefield through sensors. Compared with individual soldiers, the machine has a stronger load capacity and can be equipped with various heavy weapons, which greatly improves the combat capability. The machine can perform round-the-clock tasks with guaranteed energy. Machines are more adaptable than individual soldiers and can adapt to different battlefield environments. Robots will not have emotions, making military tasks go more smoothly.

Unmanned technology has broad application prospects in the military field, will profoundly change the form and style of future warfare, and is the strategic frontier of the development of army equipment. Just as the invention of gunpowder sent modern warfare into the era of hot weapons, some scholars have asserted that artificial intelligence will be the key to detonating future warfare changes. Future wars will be wars on chips. This is not just a contest of human wisdom, but also a confrontation between unmanned systems. Unmanned systems will gradually free human soldiers from heavy physical work and extreme danger and let them focus on making combat decisions and carrying out technical and tactical movements. If such killer robots are put into battle on a large scale, it is very difficult for the human army to win.

The equipment of unmanned combat vehicles has greatly improved the technical and informatization level of Chinese troops. It gives infantry units stronger battlefield reconnaissance, situational awareness and support firepower. How to achieve perfect tactical coordination with unmanned combat vehicles and give full play to the combat capabilities of unmanned combat vehicles has become a very important issue facing the Chinese military.

The Chinese military is developing and testing autonomous / remote control large (over one ton) UGVs (unmanned ground vehicles), which include tanks based on the transformation of the equipment with a lot of artificial intelligence. With the ability to fight autonomously, soldiers can control it remotely. According to military experts of China, the program of robotization of the armed forces in the period from 2014 to 2022 and meeting the needs of the PLA with various types must be accompanied by a 15 percent annual increase in expenditures for these purposes from 570 million. USA in 2013 to 2 billion in 2022.

China is trying to catch up and intends to become the first in this field. UGVs can be traced back to the 1990s , when the U.S. Department of Defense developed a four-wheeled, 1.6- ton MDARS (Motion Detection Evaluation and Response System) robotic vehicle for security tasks. This robot is equipped with radar and three-dimensional vision sensors. It can avoid obstacles and recognize any objects encountered. Since 2001, Americans have equipped thousands of robots of this type. Chinese military experts have concluded that the design and creation of fully Autonomous weapons systems is possible only in the long term. The unresolved question is to determine the volume of tasks, operation and the role of Autonomous robotic systems on the battlefield.

The People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) recently announced that the Sharp Claw I unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), manufactured by China North Industries Corporation (Norinco), entered service on April 13. This was first reported by China Central Television 7 and was subsequently confirmed by the PLA’s Eastern Theatre Command. Jane’s, the UK-based military news site, was among the first to report the development in the West.

According to Jane’s, Sharp Claw I is a tracked combat and reconnaissance robot weighing 120 kg. (265 lbs.) and measuring 70 cm (28 inches) in length, with an operational range of 1 kilometer (0.6 miles). It can be carried in the cargo bay of the much larger Sharp Claw II UGV, and is designed primarily for use in remote areas unaccessible to human infantry. Sharp Claw II is a 6' x 6' wheeled, unmanned ground vehicle designed to execute combat reconnaissance, patrol, assault and transport duties.

Sharp Claw I is capable of detecting and attacking targets “in all weather conditions during the day and at night,” according to Norinco. It is armed with a light machine gun firing 7.62mm rounds. Norinco says the killer robot can operate autonomously.

First displayed as a prototype in air shows in 2014 and 2018, the operational Sharp Claw I has been fitted with numerous upgrades designed to improve its reconnaissance and killing abilities. These include an improved short-range electro-optical payload, machine vision, lighting suite and a refined magazine box and ammunition feed mechanism.

The Sharp Claw 1 can walk autonomously, or it can be carried in the cabin of a larger "pointed claw 2" transport unmanned combat vehicle. When marching, they will be transported by the "Jianclaw" 2, and when they reach the combat area, they will march down from the back panel placed behind the cab of the Jianclaw 2 wheeled unmanned combat vehicle for combat. Four years later, at the Zhuhai Air Show in 2018, North Company once again demonstrated an upgraded version of the "Jianclaw" 1 unmanned fighter. The new version has many upgrades, including improved short-range photoelectric loads, machine vision and lighting components, and a newly designed remote weapon station. The weapon station uses ammunition boxes to load ammunition, which can improve the continuous firing ability of unmanned combat vehicles.

Unmanned ground systems (UGVs) are a priority in China’s defense plans, but their deployment appeared limited. UGVs encompass numerous vehicles that operate on land with a human operator or autonomously. They can execute military missions including combat, ordnance disposal, and transport. Numerous Chinese civilian and defense companies, universities, and research institutes are developing UGVs and other unmanned ground systems. R&D on intelligent guidance for unmanned ground platforms is reported to receive support from China’s 973 and 863 programs for high-technology development, as well as the Twelfth FYP of the General Armament Department (GAD).

To spur these systems’ development, in 2014 the former GAD hosted the first robot competition, which featured 21 vehicles from over ten research institutes. Teams from NUDT came in first and second place, a team from BIT came in third place, and a team from the PLA’s Military Transportation University came in fourth place.

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In September 2016 the Chinese military hosted the “2016 Leap Over Treacherous Paths” contest. The contest hosted five competitions for unmanned ground systems to simulate battle operations in different terrains and missions. The competition areas are rough terrain battlefield reconnaissance, rough terrain battlefield marching in formation, urban battlefield reconnaissance and search, transport in mountainous regions by bionic unmanned platforms, and transport in mountainous regions by non-bionic unmanned platforms.

The "Overcoming Dangers 2016" Ground Unmanned System Challenge took the form of socialized public release. Since its release on June 7, a total of 56 units, 116 platforms (times), and 557 people signed up to participate in the competition. Research institutes, state-owned enterprises, private enterprises and many other fields of research forces signed up to participate.

On the morning of September 6, the preliminary round of the “Overcoming Dangers 2016” Ground Unmanned System Challenge was grandly held in Tahe, Heilongjiang. After review by the expert group, a total of 40 leading units, 44 cooperating units, 73 teams, and 99 vehicles. Equipment participated in the preliminary round of this challenge. Lasted for 8 days, the preliminary round was successfully concluded on September 13, and 22 of the 73 participating teams advanced to the final.

The finals focused on strengthening the leadership of military requirements in the setting of missions and drove the development of unmanned systems related technology. There were three types of competitions, divided into five competition groups, namely: field battlefield missions, urban battlefield reconnaissance and There are three types of competitions, search and mountain transportation, which are divided into five groups according to the tonnage of the participating platforms and the features of functional structure.

After fierce competition, the Lions Intelligent No. 1 fleet of the Military Transportation Academy, the live-fire robot fleet of Inner Mongolia Zhongyi Electric Instrument Automation Company, the Run No. 1 fleet of the China North Vehicle Research Institute, and the Sunward Intelligent Fleet of Sunward Intelligent Equipment Co., Ltd. Champion of each participating project group.

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More robot warriors are entering the arsenal of the Chinese military, with the latest additions being a small model that's equipped with a machine gun and a crane-like missile-loading robot, and experts said on Tuesday that robots will free human soldiers from heavy physical work and unnecessary danger.

The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) is in possession of the small ground robot, which can traverse complicated terrains, accurately observe battlefield situations and provide ferocious firepower, the PLA Eastern Theater Command said on Sina Weibo on Monday when reposting a China Central Television (CCTV) report on the robot. In an announcement made on 13 April via its Sina Weibo account the PLA’s Eastern Theatre Command confirmed an 11 April report by the China Central Television 7 (CCTV 7) channel stating that the tracked, combat, and reconnaissance UGV was now in service with the Chinese military.

The thigh-high robot looks like a small assault vehicle. It walks on tracks similar to a tank, allowing it to adapt to complicated terrains in open field combat, move quickly and climb stairs, CCTV reported. Equipped with a machine gun, and observation and detection equipment including night vision devices, the robot can replace a human soldier in dangerous reconnaissance missions, the report said. Target practice results showed the robot has acceptable accuracy, and the use of weapons still requires human control.

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Page last modified: 25-03-2021 11:55:42 ZULU