From machines the size of a fat insect attached to your summertime screen door to $130 million unmanned aerial vehicles that can fly as high as 65,000 feet, the skies in war zones are alive with military drones.
Now a Florida company is building an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed specifically for the urban combat that many military thinkers see as the future of warfare – the sort of house-by-house battles being fought to re-capture Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq from the Islamic State.
Reuters said Thursday that a few hundred ISIS militants in Mosul are making a desperate last stand in the “Old City’s maze of alleyways,” with suicide bombers being employed as the eight-month siege nears its end.
Routing them without endangering ground troops is exactly the sort of scenario for which the TIKAD, built by Duke Robotics, is designed.
The small, multi-prop drone can be fitted with an assault weapon, a grenade launcher or a sniper rifle mounted on a rotating gimbal. The military website Defense One says that the TIKAD has a proprietary stabilization system that compensates for recoil when weapons are fired from it remotely.
The Duke website says the “technology also allows us to shoot remotely and potentially disarm a situation without ever deploying a ground presence.”
Defense One quoted Duke co-founder and CEO Raziel Atuar as saying: “I can mount an M4, SR25, a 40-millimeter grenade launcher … I can carry up to 22 pounds and [the system] will stabilize the drone and allow me to get an accurate shot.”
Duke describes the TIKAD as “user-friendly” and says it “can easily be carried in the field.”
Atuar is identified on the company website as a former Lt. Colonel in the Israeli Defense Forces and a former special agent of the Israeli Secret Service.
Duke has two other co-founders. Sagiv Aharon, the chief technology officer, is a former structural design engineer who worked in the Israeli aerospace industry. Chief Logistics Officer Amir Kadosh, like Atuar, is a veteran of the IDF Special Forces and the Secret Service, according to the company website.
Defense One said it has confirmed that the Israeli military is buying an unspecified number of the drones and that the Pentagon has expressed interest.