Russia's Nightmare: Will America's Javelin Missile-Wielding Titan Robots Hunt Tanks?

Michael Peck

Key point: America is considering combining a remote-control robot with a remote-control missile launcher.

Pity the poor tank. As if armored fighting vehicles didn't have enough problems, from missiles and rockets to IEDs lurking in the dirt.

Now they are going to be hunted by anti-tank robots.

A prototype variant of the Titan unmanned ground vehicle, or UGV, mounts a Javelin anti-tank missile as well as a .50-caliber machine gun.

Estonian firm Milrem Robotics makes the Titan—a sort of jack-of-all-trades mechanical mule. It's a 1.6-ton, 8-foot-long tracked robot that stands four feet tall, travels at twelve miles per hour, and can haul about a ton of cargo. The Titan can be fitted with various modules for tasks such as IED clearance, casualty evacuation and hauling cargo. The U.S. army is now evaluating it to haul the equipment of an infantry squad.

Meanwhile, Norwegian defense firm Kongsberg makes the Protector remote weapons station, typically mounted on vehicles to enable the crew to fire external weapons, such as turret-mounted machine guns, while remaining inside the protection of the vehicle. The U.S. military already uses about 15,000 of Kongsberg's Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station (CROWS) systems on vehicles such as the Humvee and Stryker.

So why not put a remote-controlled weapon mount on a remote-controlled robot? Hunting tanks isn't the safest of pastimes, so let a robot do it while the human operator stays safely out of the line of fire.

Milrem and Kongsberg recently conducted a live-fire demonstration near Kongsberg's Norwegian headquarters. “Further testing and demonstrations, including Javelin firing, are planned for the near-future,” according to a Milrem press release.

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