China Kestrel Defense is developing robotic systems for landing robots. A drone drops a weaponized dog on the top of the robot’s house in the video. While the technique is being tested, officials intend to begin mass-producing military robots as soon as possible.
The video opens with an image of the drone approaching the building rooftop, carrying the armed robot dog under the drone’s body. The drone then lands on the roof, releases the robodog, and flees, operating as a sort of robotic dropship. Soon after, the robodog unfolds from its folded position and begins navigating its new environs, armed with what appears to be a Chinese QBB-97 light machine gun.
The video was published on Weibo by the account ‘Kestrel Defense Blood-Wing,’ along with a description that provides additional information.
“War dogs descending from the sky, air assault, Red Wing Forward heavy-duty drones deliver combat robot dogs which can be directly inserted into the weak link behind the enemy to launch a surprise attack or can be placed on the roof of the enemy to occupy the commanding heights to suppress firepower. And ground troops [can] conduct a three-dimensional pincer attack on the enemy in the building,” the caption reads.
The company believes that the drone and robodog team can enable the aforementioned “three-dimensional pincer attack,” which is a strategy that might be deployed in an urban assault situation when forces attack from two angles at once and the robodog is dropped on the roof to add a third.
Though the entire video is unclear, the robodog’s drum-magazine machine pistol is interesting. No specific weapon is mentioned in the video’s description. However, the Chinese QBB-97 light machine gun is quite comparable to it. The QBB-97 is a companion weapon. It differs from an assault rifle in that it has a heavier barrel, a folding bipod, and the ability to fire continuously for extended periods.
Even though the machine gun variant is compatible with the rifle’s 30-round box magazine, the drum magazine seen in the video can hold up to 80 rounds. The QBB-97 can fire up to 650 rounds per minute. However, it is unclear how it would work when fired from a robodog.
How well the Chinese robodog would do in actual combat is questionable for now. Nevertheless, they would still make an interesting addition to many combat situations, mainly when used in tandem with consumer drones as delivery systems.
Of course, everything about this sounds like it belongs in a science fiction movie. But the technology needed to do this is currently well within human control. How much independence these robots would have is the critical question. Man-in-the-loop will be the reality for the time being, but in the not-too-distant future, we might see these systems act on their own.