World Jewish News
Unmanned vehicles to form one-third of Israeli army ground force by 2030
A third of the IDF’s ground strength could rest on unmanned vehicles by 2030, a defense ministry official said Thursday.
Speaking at the annual Israel Defense Forces Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Conference, Brig. Gen. Nir Halamish, head of military R&D at the ministry of defense, said that in 2001 United States military set a goal of one-third unmanned deployment by 2015 – with zero success.
“In actual fact, in 2015 there was not one robot deployed with American ground forces,” Halamish told the Israel Defense online industry journal in Hebrew. In contrast, he said that the rapid development of unmanned technology in more recent years, collaboration between the private and public sectors and the expected pace of future development could help the IDF could hit that goal by 2030.
“The [defense ministry’s] Administration for the Development of Weapons and Technological Infrastructure is a program to identify potential technologies that could have a dramatic affect on the battlefield. That can slash the amount of time it takes to develop technology. [Development of] autonomous land-based vehicles are of this program,” he added.
Halamish cautioned that robots will not replace human soldiers, and certainly not by 2030. But operational plans for the coming generation do call for expanded use of autonomous technology, particularly for dangerous operations.
“There are already operations during which humans are the weak link. We are trying to get them out of these type of operations. And there is also the question of who pulls the trigger. There is an emphasis on operations that require speed, there are boring operations that require a high level of concentration. Robots are better at that than people,” he said.
One example, he said, will be a fully automated D-9 bulldozer, used for demolishing buildings, including the homes of terrorists. Other unmanned vehicles will provide logistical support; within three years autonomous vehicles are scheduled to take part in intelligence-gathering, border patrols, attacks, with the ability to choose routes, decide what information to collect, make decisions and more.
“We will have fully functional prototypes by 2020,” Halamish said. “The whole world is moving towards this. It isn’t just the IDF.”