China pairs armed robot dogs and drones in new video

The clip does not yet indicate what the exercise was for.
Loukia Papadopoulos

A one-minute video posted Tuesday on Weibo, a Chinese micro-blogging website, shows a Chinese drone carrying an armed robot dog and placing it down on land ready for action, according to a report by The War Zone. It is currently still unclear if the clip comes from a Chinese military exercise.

Dropping a robot dog on a rooftop

In the video, the drone can be seen as it approaches the rooftop of a building in a nondescript urban area while carrying beneath it an armed robot dog. After the drone drops the robot on the roof, it simply flies away.

The robodog then stands up from its folded position and starts investigating its new location with what looks to be a Chinese QBB-97 light machine gun—known as a Type 95 LGM in the United States—placed on its back.

The Weibo account is from Kestrel Defense Blood-Wing, which seems to be directly affiliated with the Chinese Kestrel Defense company. Here is what the organization had to say about the video:

“War dogs descending from the sky, air assault, Red Wing Forward heavy-duty drones deliver combat robot dogs, which can be directly inserted into the weak link behind the enemy to launch a surprise attack or can be placed on the roof of the enemy to occupy the commanding heights to suppress firepower. And ground troops [can] conduct a three-dimensional pincer attack on the enemy in the building.”

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This message indicates that the drone-robot dog pairing was developed for use in assault operations taking place in urban areas. These areas are notoriously hard to monitor and infiltrate as they consist of tall buildings and complex structures. The Weibo account's other videos of different robot dogs also show the pairings use in similar urban environments.

However, it’s hard to gauge the exact use of this advanced technology as technical specifications about both the robodog and the drone in the video are not revealed, making it impossible to confirm how exactly these systems are used.

Designation still a mystery

For now, the drone’s actual designation remains a mystery, although it does resemble one of the many drones that China produces. One thing that is clear is that the robot dog’s weapon resembles the Chinese QBB-97 light machine gun, a companion weapon for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army QBZ-95 assault rifle. It does have one key advantage over the rifle, however, and that is its capacity to provide sustained bursts of automatic fire.

Indeed, the QBB-97 can fire up to 650 rounds a minute, but what the video fails to mention and explain is how it will manage that from the back of a robot dog and whether it would fire once on land or on top of the drone as well.

Another factor that remains unclear is how any armed robot dog would fare in actual combat. That doesn’t mean that they cannot be useful assets in any combat scenarios, especially if they can be delivered by drones into the heart of the action.

Drone deployment means army personnel could place the robot dog in a battle position, even in high-security areas. This endeavor would be undertaken efficiently and without endangering any lives. Could this be the future of warfare?

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