Drones

Machine gun-toting drone threatens to change combat forever

Machine gun-toting drone threa...
Drones with guns are coming
Drones with guns are coming
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The TIKAD can mount and fire any weapon up to a weight of 22 lb (10 kg)
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The TIKAD can mount and fire any weapon up to a weight of 22 lb (10 kg)
Drones with guns are coming
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Drones with guns are coming
Duke Robotics envision the system will help reduce both civilian and military casualties 
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Duke Robotics envision the system will help reduce both civilian and military casualties 
The Israeli military has already reportedly put in an order
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The Israeli military has already reportedly put in an order
A stabilization system compensates for the recoil from firing a weapon
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A stabilization system compensates for the recoil from firing a weapon
An un-decorated version of the TIKAD 
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An un-decorated version of the TIKAD 
The more conventional camouflage model
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The more conventional camouflage model
The device seems to be functional in real life from the fleeting glimpses in the video
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The device seems to be functional in real life from the fleeting glimpses in the video
A human controller directs the drone and targeting remotely
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A human controller directs the drone and targeting remotely

In 2015, a video showing a semi-automatic handgun being fired from a custom-built drone went viral, raising concerns for authorities, including the FAA. The development of such a DIY device was only a matter of time, as was the commercialization of the technology. Now Florida-based startup Duke Robotics has unveiled the TIKAD, a custom-built multirotor that can carry and fire various military weapons, including semi-automatic rifles and grenade launchers.

Duke Robotics is co-founded by Raziel Atuar, a former Special Mission Unit commander in the Israel Defense Force who was inspired to develop this drone system after experiencing the difficulty of battling terrorist agents that operate within civilian populations. As we have seen in recent years, shooting missiles into populated areas frequently results in horrific collateral damage.

"The primary solution you are left with is sending in ground troops – but this shifts the risk to your troops, which often leads to injuries and casualties," says Atuar. "But, we thought, 'what if there was a better way'."

A stabilization system compensates for the recoil from firing a weapon
A stabilization system compensates for the recoil from firing a weapon

TIKAD has been in development for several years and an early prototype, based on a consumer drone, was successfully deployed by the Israeli military to take out a target in 2015. Since then, the device has been refined and a proprietary stabilization system has been developed to absorb any recoil from the firing of a weapon.

In an interview with Defense One, Atuar states the current device can carry and fire a variety of different weapons up to a weight of 22 lb (10 kg), and the accompanying promotional video shows how the drone is remotely operated. A human still needs to be on the other end to control the drone and weapon – at least for now.

Duke Robotics envision the system will help reduce both civilian and military casualties 
Duke Robotics envision the system will help reduce both civilian and military casualties 

The idea of reducing both civilian and military casualties through the deployment of weaponized drones is, on one hand, an appealing prospect, but it's also undeniable that the idea of a fleet of drones with machine guns flying through the air is absolutely horrifying.

The company is still seeking investors to expand its operations, but reports claim the Israeli military has already put in an order for an undisclosed number of the drones, and the company is pitching the system to the US military as well.

Take a look at the TIKAD in (mostly computer-generated) action in the video below.

Source: Duke Robotics

TIKAD - The Future Soldier - Duke Robotics Inc | Invest

21 comments
ErstO
Great idea, lets make it easer to wage war with no loss.... With no human loss on “our” side it makes it easy for the masses to ignore the war.... Defense contractors will make millions in our forever war.
SimonClarke
I agree with ErstO. they help to save our troops lives, but they can also be used in so many other ways to deter people. Guns are not always about shooting the bullets. 20 of these on an Oil tanker in the Gulf would soon 'deter' pirates from going any where near the ship. Also, it's given me some great ideas for my next 'Slick Moaner' novel.
Brian M
Possibly a lot safer for civilians than bigger drones, more of a surgical strike weapon. Provided fire control is still under human control its not much more of a threat to civilians than conventional weapons. Danger is if the next logical development takes place and that's localised AI. After all the easy counter to these weapons is a low cost RF jammer and the counter to that is onboard AI.
Bob
I'm a little puzzled by the rifle mounted on the drone. In full auto it would be out of ammo in less than two seconds(so not really a machine gun). There would be no point in carrying the extra weight of the hand grip and sights. To be effective it needs more ammo and to be stripped of any unnecessary weight plus be able to fire accurately on the move. This could be a very effective anti-sniper weapon but can it withstand enemy fire or is it just a big clay pigeon? With night or thermal vision it could be even more useful.
myale
So how long before we see the next terrorist attack is with gun mounted drones in a city somewhere
ShellyBuckman
Seriously? We come up with drones that take the most magnificent photography, among other positive uses but then ... how long does it take to start weaponizing it? Not long at all. So disappointed. ErstO - I couldn't agree more!
Rustin Lee Haase
Effective counter-weapon - Radio Jamming. Who cares about being FCC complaint when you've got a flying machine gun coming your way.
Douglas E Knapp
Clad the thing is very light but effective armor. Set it up to run with 3d classes like a racing drone, add in advanced AI and navigation, give it a good, light weapon, maybe a laser? If it has 8 rotors, it should be able to limp out on 6 or 7 so shooting it down will be hard. Give it a communications system that is hardened against interference. Now you have a very good sniper weapon! The next version with be stealthed, quiet, faster with better armor and more range and a satellite uplink. Wait a minute, don't we already have this? UAVs.
mike_edward
This concept will be a life saver for soldiers to be sure. Now how about getting law enforcement and SWAT up to speed to protect citizens from this threat? Because if I am seeing this proof-of-concept right now, it means some fiend has already thought of it for terrorizing civilians in cities.
Ralf Biernacki
Good, and inevitable, idea. But I strongly disagree with Doug about armoring it. Military vehicles are armored, not so much to actually increase their survival rate---the increase isn't worth the extra expense---but 1. to protect valuable, trained human operators, and 2. to give the crew a (false?) sense of invulnerability, making them bolder in action. Neither reason applies to a drone. It is much more cost- and firepower-effective to make several cheap, expendable ones for the price of one heavy, expensive armored drone. Think Zerg rush. And their best defense is maneuverability, anyway.