Feeds

Israelis' invulnerable, 60-tonne robot bulldozer force to double

Cat D9 also starred as satanic Killdozer. Coincidence?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The Israeli armed forces have announced plans to double their existing force of robot bulldozers, after unmanned "Black Thunder" droid diggers apparently covered themselves with glory during the recent Gaza incursion.

The IDF armoured version of the Caterpillar D9 bulldozer

An IDF killdozer in a quiet moment.

According to the Jerusalem Post, the Black Thunder unmanned version of the existing D9 combat dozer was developed in secret by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) Engineering Corps. It has apparently only recently been declassified.

"The unmanned D9 performed remarkably during Operation Cast Lead, clearing roads of mines and explosive devices," an unnamed IDF officer told the paper. "The unmanned version is important since if there is a concern that an area is loaded with mines it can save lives."

The regular D9, from Caterpillar, is an imposing brute. It weighs nearly 50 tonnes - reportedly more than 60 with IDF armour - boasts better than 450 horsepower, and is generally equipped with a normal bulldozer blade at the front and a "ripper" delving tool at the back. The Black Thunder unmanned version is fitted with cameras and remote actuators, and can operated unmanned or with a driver as may suit.

The mighty machine has already attracted negative publicity in IDF service: its use for house demolitions in Gaza and elsewhere has drawn criticism from human-rights groups. But the IDF think it's great, and they like the Black Thunder so much that the Jerusalem Post says Major-general Avi Mizrachi (CO of the Ground Forces Command) is considering setting up an extra battalion of robodozer-equipped troops.

Chillingly, a Caterpillar D9 starred in the 1974 TV movie Killdozer, in which a bulldozer possessed by a demonic intelligence attempts to wipe out an isolated construction crew. Those who have read the short story which was adapted for the film will know that the machine should strictly have been a D7, but no matter.

It's plainly time to reach a mutual-defence agreement with the 600-tonne godzilla lorries while we still can. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.