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By Arie Egozi
It begins to look like an episode from a science fiction movie – along the border between Israel and the Gaza strip, robots in the air and on the ground are performing a growing number of missions.
In some situations they cooperate through a very advanced command and control system – these are the unmanned air systems (UAS) and the unmanned ground systems (UGS) that take a very active part of sealing this volatile border that is really a barrel of dynamite.
While the UASs are known better, the UGSs are no less important. They perform an increasing number of missions as new versions are being introduced.
The main UGS operated along this border is the Guardium made by G-NIUS, a joint company that was established by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and Elbit systems. This company does not exist anymore but the two , IAI and Elbit Systems are continuing to develop UGVs separately.
Some of these UGSs are already being used along the border between Israel and Gaza. Others are still in the development phase, and many armed services in the world are interested in them.
The accumulated operational experience shows that the UASs and the UGSs can in many situations work in harmony supplying surveillance capabilities that give the soldiers in the headquarters a look from above and a constant look from very close on the actual border line. This without the problems that are involved in manned patrols. The UGSs and the payloads they carry are 100% alert as long as the unmanned platform is on the move with fuel in the tank. And when the fuel is low another UGS is sent to cover the border line.
The pace of introducing UGS into armies and other defence organizations has been slower than expected but the companies say that there is a shift in the market and that brings meaningful potential.
It must be said that many of the technologies used in the UGSs have been developed and honed by Israel’s UAS industry, and the transfer of these technologies continues.