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The IDF has been advancing its use of unmanned vehicles for remote fire missions. In recent weeks, the IDF has successfully completed the first trials in which the Drakonit gun system mounted on a remotely controlled unmanned vehicle fired accurately.

The trial, performed in an IDF firing range, included fire by the unmanned Drakonit at a series of targets, without human involvement. The IDF Robotics Unit in the Ground Forces Command Weapons Department led the trial with the aim of testing the firing capabilities of unmanned vehicles.

The trial was carried out as part of the border protection program for strengthening existing defenses along Israel’s borders and reducing the dangers to lives, by integrating remotely operated autonomous vehicles from a specially designed operations room. These vehicles will in the future play a major role in routine defense operations such as patrol missions, and securing border roads.

The Drakonit developed by Elbit System’s Land and C4I Division is capable of identifying targets in a way that allows it to swiftly close in on it and accurately fire lethal rounds at the defined target, at a range of 1.5 kilometers. The IDF began integrating the system into its ranks 18 months ago and it is mainly being put into armored personnel carriers for breaking through engineering obstacles. The system is currently being operated by soldiers but in the future it will become autonomous.

The Drakonit system is equipped with specially designed cameras and radar enabling it to operate optimally in day and night and identify suspects in various operations – both in open terrain and in residential settings, while continually broadcasting images to its remote operator. After identifying the suspicious image, the Drakonit locks in on it and receives orders from the operations room, which can be many kilometers away, and then open fire on targets.

Following the successful trials of recent weeks, the system is being installed on additional remote-controlled robot vehicles. The robot vehicles are already operational in the most militarily sensitive areas and the plan is for the scope of operations to be expanded. IDF Robotics Unit Commander Major Slava Resnik told “The vision is that these systems, mounted on unmanned platforms, will replace soldiers and fighters carrying out routine security operations along the border fence and who are vulnerable to firing from ambushes or roadside charges. If there is going to be damage, then it is preferable that the metal will be damaged and not the soldiers.”