In a rare public presentation earlier this month, Brig. Gen. Nir Halamish, head of the military research and development unit of the Ministry’s MAFAT Research and Development Bureau, outlined Israel’s unmanned vehicles blueprint through 2025.
Speaking at a conference of Israel Defense and the local chapter of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, Halamish cited MoD’s interest in unmanned flight, unmanned surface ships and autonomous underwater systems for countering mines.
He said MoD started a five-year program to advance civilian unmanned gliders for military missions, insisting the ministry and local industrial partners do not intend to “reinvent the wheel,” but rather are focusing on injecting military-grade robustness for maneuvering forces.
A key future vector for land warfare is use of unmanned systems as a type of “robotic advance guard,” whereby armed UGVs would team with manned units for joint operations in high-threat theaters.
“This advance guard is to be deployed hundreds of meters ahead of the manned force. We hope to get there in the coming years,” he said.
Unmanned logistics convoys are another future vector, as are small unmanned submersibles, both of which Halamish said Israel can achieve “relatively easily” in the coming five years.
Also within reach, he said, are two new UAV systems, one involving small hovercraft built to carry up to 40 kilos for escorting tactical-echelon ground forces and the other heavy-lift drones capable of transporting several hundred kilograms.
DARPA also plans to integrate unmanned vehicles with military squads and platoons