Israel’s Ministry of Defense is eyeing new autonomous operating concepts and a spectrum of unmanned air, ground and sea systems, several of which could become functional within a decade.
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.
In the realm of ground vehicles, he noted that Israel is the only country in the world to deploy unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) for persistent, around-the-clock border control missions. The experience Israel has accumulated with UGVs operating at its border with Gaza will be replicated in other areas.
“These [UGVs] are the first at any event, which prevents our soldiers from coming into contact with the enemy at the outset,” he said.
Knowledge gained from unmanned border patrol missions will eventually be expanded to a point where UGVs will be part and parcel of maneuvering ground forces. Halamish cited.