Tensions between South and North Korea are always high with each side striving to gain the upper hand in some way and the constant threat of incursion by one side or the other hangs over the peninsular – As a result the mountains of Seoul are covered with both manned and unmanned defensive positons.
One radical new strategy favoured by South Korea is the development of autonomous robotic defence systems that can be left to guard the DMZ. There are several different types, though most take the form of static sentry guns with autonomous targeting systems that are *hopefully* capable of determining the correct target to obliterate.
DoDAAM’s Super aEgis II
The Super aEgis 2 is an automated gun tower that can find and lock on to a human-sized target in pitch darkness at a distance of up to 1.36 miles (2.2 kilometers). It uses a 35x zoom CCD camera with ‘enhancement feature’ for bad weather, in conjunction with a dual FOV, autofocus Infra-Red sensor, to pick out targets.
Then it brings the pain, either with a standard 12.7mm caliber machine-gun, a 40mm automatic grenade launcher upgrade, or whatever other weapons system you want to bolt on to it, including surface-to-air missiles. A laser range finder helps to calibrate aim, and a gyroscopic stabilizer unit helps correct both the video system’s aim and the direction of the guns after recoil pushes them off-target.
Each 140 kg (308.6 lb.) unit can be rigidly mounted or put on a moving vehicle, where the gyro stabilization would be a huge asset. They can operate in fully autonomous mode, firing first and asking questions later, or they can be put into a manual mode for more human intervention. All machines communicate back to headquarters through a LAN cable or wireless network.
Manufacturer’s web page: http://www.dodaam.com/sub_0202_1_3.php
In 2006, Samsung Techwin announced a $200,000, all weather, 5.56 mm robotic machine gun to guard the Korean DMZ. It is capable of tracking multiple moving targets using IR and visible light cameras, and is under the control of a human operator. The Intelligent Surveillance and Guard Robot can “identify and shoot a target automatically from over two miles away.” The robot, which was developed by a South Korean university, uses “twin optical and infrared sensors to identify targets from 2.5 miles in daylight and around half that distance at night.”
It is also equipped with communication equipment (a microphone and speakers), “so that passwords can be exchanged with human troops.” If the person gives the wrong password, the robot can “sound an alarm or fire at the target using rubber bullets or a swivel-mounted K-3 machine gun.” South Korea’s soldiers in Iraq are “currently using robot sentries to guard home bases.”
Manufacturer’s website: http://www.samsungtechwin.com/product/product_01_01.asp