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Monday, August 8, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Israel plans for future use of battlefield robots

TEL AVIV — Israel's military is drafting plans for the deployment of combat robots.


Officials said the Israel Army envisioned the development and deployment of robots that would operate in the battlefield. They said the robots would help reduce infantry casualties and focus on urban warfare operations.

"The goal is to reach territory with controlling platforms that will help us reduce casualties amongst our forces," Col. Nissim Levy, a senior Army officer, said.

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On May 31, Levy, head of motorized systems at the Ground Forces Technology Brigade, outlined the Army's vision for robots. The colonel said robots would comprise a strategic deterrent to both conventional and irregular forces, such as Hizbullah.

"In the future, we will see robotic platforms that will take the place of fighters in the field," Levy told the Military and Aviation conference.

Officials said the Army has already been overseeing the development and deployment of robots for logistical operations. They said Israeli defense majors have been testing unmanned ground platforms that would enhance mobility and intelligence.

"The Israel Defense Forces' observation capabilities are becoming more and more enhanced," Levy said.

Levy did not provide a timetable for the deployment of combat robots, but he said the prospect that a robot would replace a soldier was at least a decade away. He said the Army was focusing on tiny systems to dismantle improvised explosive devices. The colonel said the use of unmanned systems would fill a range of army requirements, particularly in urban warfare operations.

"The IDF's vision is to develop a system that fits a wide range of missions in the field, with the possibility of an effective operational capability that will produce a tactical advantage, deterrence and a reduction in casualties," Levy said.

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