The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have developed a vast array of robotic and autonomous weapons, some of which may have already been deployed against Palestinians in Gaza to support Tel Aviv's ongoing conflict. (Related: Hamas' sophisticated tunnel networks pose a significant challenge for Israel.)
Some of the IDF's most well-known robotic weaponry includes the Harop, a loitering munition or "suicide drone" that has already been used to conduct strikes in Gaza. This drone can carry a 35-pound explosive to strike a target up to 620 miles away and uses robotics systems to support the human operator controlling it, including designating a "holding area" for the Harop, allowing it to automatically fly in circles over a certain area to wait for targets.
All along the built-up border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, the Israeli military has equipped its border with radars and sensors to detect movement underground and underwater.
Perhaps one of the most terrifying weapons systems deployed by Israel are those specifically deployed to surveil and harass Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
Much like the weapons deployed in Gaza, these systems are meant to curtail the privacy and freedom of Palestinians. These include robotic vehicles equipped with AI-enhanced cameras and machine guns patrolling the West Bank. These systems use state-of-the-art surveillance technology, including facial recognition and biometric data collection systems on Palestinians.
In the Al-Aroub refugee camp in the southern West Bank, the IDF has installed AI-powered turrets capable of firing less-lethal sponge-tipped bullets, tear gas and stun grenades. These turrets are powered by AI systems created by Israeli military technology firm Smart Shooter and they are able to automatically identify, track and lock onto targets Israel considers hostile.
The company said the autonomous fire-control system operating the turrets, called SMASH, "significantly increases the accuracy, lethality and situational awareness of small arms." It will also minimize Israeli casualties by distancing soldiers from the Palestinians targeted by SMASH.
Smart Shooter added that SMASH still requires a soldier to operate and fire at designated targets even if aiming is fully taken over by robotics, putting the final decision regarding "legitimate targets" in the hands of IDF troopers.
The IDF also has other AI-enhanced weaponry still in development, including Rex MKII, an autonomous, wheeled combat robot that can act as a transport or reconnaissance vehicle and a weapons platform. It is loaded with onboard AI technology that uses "sensor-to-shooter loops" that take the task of designating targets out of human hands.
RoBattle, another wheeled, robotic and semi-autonomous weapon, has been rolled out by the IDF in Gaza. Much like the turrets and the Rex, the RoBattle allows the IDF to autonomously perform tasks like ambushing, convoy and force protection, combat intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, reconnaissance and advanced attack operations.
Learn more about the weapons being used in Israel's ongoing conflict with Palestinians in Gaza at WeaponsTechnology.news.
Watch this clip from "Reality Rants" on Red Voice Media as host Jason Bermas discusses Israel bringing in AI-powered robots to Gaza.