We’ve seen plenty of robo-dogs emerging over the past few years, and they’ve turned out to be both adorable and fascinating to watch while they perform all sorts of tricks. But when someone decides to strap a lethal weapon to a four-legged machine, it might just go from cute to terrifying real fast.
Called the Special Purpose Unmanned Rifle, or SPUR, the system is the creation of robot maker Ghost Robotics and gun manufacturer Sword International.
What you’re looking at is actually a 6.5mm Creedmoor rifle from Sword attached to one of Ghost Robotics’ quadrupedal unmanned ground vehicles (Q-UGVs). The SPUR was presented at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting as the “latest lethality innovation.”
Sword says that the system was “designed to offer precision fire from unmanned platforms.” The contraption weighs 7,7 kgs (17 lbs), and it features safe, chamber, clear, and fire capabilities.
It also provides the user the ability to load the weapon at a distance. The rifle can fire out to 1,200 meters (3,940 feet), and SPUR can also utilize 7.62×51 NATO cartridges for ammunition. The machine can operate in different environments, and it’s equipped with daytime and nighttime sensors.
At the moment, there’s not much information about the product, and there’s no word on this thing’s level of autonomy. The Ghost Robotics’ Q-UGVs have already been used before in limited military applications by the U.S. Air Force.
Last year, U.S. Air Force’s 325th Security Forces Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida tested the robo-dogs in patrolling operations.
“These dogs will be an extra set of eyes and ears while computing large amounts of data at strategic locations throughout Tyndall Air Force Base,” Air Force Major Jordan Criss, the head of the 325th Security Forces Squadron, said in a statement prior to testing the quadrupedal robots.
Equipping the Q-UGVs with a weapon system could boost the robot dogs’ versatility when used in a variety of applications. And while some will find the SPUR pretty impressive, there are people who already took to Twitter to express their concern over the new development.
Latest lethality 6.5 #creedmoor sniper payload from @SWORDINT. Check out the latest partner payloads @AUSAorg Wash DC. Keeping US and allied #sof #warfighter equipped with the latest innovations. @USSOCOM #defense #defence #NationalSecurity #drone #robotics pic.twitter.com/Dvk6OvL3Bu
— Ghost Robotics (@Ghost_Robotics) October 11, 2021