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Israel deploys robo-snipers on Gaza border

Man still in the loop...to begin with

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Israel has begun deploying stationary robot gun-and-sensor installations along its borders with the Gaza Strip, according to reports.

Both Jane's Defence Weekly and Defence News reported last week that the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have begun deploying automated gun stations in pillboxes along the Gaza border. The robot systems are said to mount cal-fifty (12.7mm) machine guns, protected by "armoured folding shields" until ready to fire.

Defence News says the auto-gun network is developed by Rafael, the Israeli state weapons bureau. Given the reported calibre of the weaponry, this suggests that the gun-bots in use are the Mini-Samson type, normally used as a remote-controlled gun turret on light fighting vehicles so as to avoid a gunner having to poke his torso up out of a hatch (top gunner is one of the most dangerous jobs in counter-insurgency vehicle patrolling.)

In this case, the automatic guns and their long range electro-optical sensors will be tied in by optic fibre to a command network which will also be able to draw information from existing ground sensors, manned aircraft, and overhead drones.

According to Defence News Tel Aviv correspondent Barbara Opall-Rome, "each machine gun-mounted station serves as a type of robotic sniper, capable of enforcing a nearly 1,500-meter-deep no-go zone".

"The IDF's Southern Command is also considering adding Gill/Spike anti-tank missiles to extend the no-go zones to several kilometers, defense and industry sources here said."

The integrated robo-sniper network has reportedly been dubbed "See-Shoot" by the IDF, suggesting that asking questions isn't on the priority list.

"Nobody has any business approaching our border fence," an unnamed Israeli official told Opall-Rome. "It's well-understood that this area is off-limits..."

All in all, the Israeli gun-bot force seems distinctly more hardcore than the South Korean one. Not only do the IDF robo-snipers pack a more arse-kicking gun, their automatic armour-shuttered pillboxes seem a lot harder to circumvent than the Korean SGR-A1's "anti-theft alarm".

What's more, there seems to be a future plan for the Israeli gun systems to become true killer robots rather than just remote hardened weapon stations.

"At least in the initial phases of deployment, we're going to have to keep the man in the loop," an unnamed IDF commander reportedly told Opall-Rome. "We don't want to risk making tragic and politically costly mistakes with such a lethal system."

More from Defence News here. ®

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