Over recent years, unmanned vehicles have become an integral part of the military sector’s agenda in many countries. Wide ranges of land and ground unmanned devices are swelling the ranks of new generation technologies and the Ukrainian military industry’s inventions are no exception. A previously published InfoFlash focused on drones as a part of the Ukrainian Modernisation Project, but the development of unmanned devices goes even further proving that Ukraine has become one of the most progressive countries in the development of unmanned ground vehicles.
The Ukrainian Camel 4×4 is an unmanned robotic platform launched by the Ukrainian company Roboneers and presented for the first time at the “Зброя та безпека – 2019” (Weapons and Security) exhibition. Notably, this robotic platform is provided with a flexible frame chassis and is able to increase situational awareness and sustain the force with increased distribution, throughput and efficiency (Roboneers, 2020).
Roboneers’ “Camel” aims at carrying out different functions, from detection and destruction of forces, transportation of essential equipment and military troops to reconnaissance activities and elimination of armoured enemy targets. First tests have highlighted the ability of the vehicle to move through rugged and wooded terrains and in urban (city) environments. This ability is related to the fact that initially, the Camel unmanned platform was designed to be a transportation vehicle, but it was transformed into a combat vehicle during the last development phase. With its weight of 600 kilograms, this “pocket-sized machine” can transport up to 600 kg with a traction load of 1000 kg. It can evacuate wounded military personnel from the battlefield if necessary (Roboneers, 2020).
Moreover, several interesting design solutions are implemented in the model: Camel consists of two separate parts, that are connected by a swivel mechanism that adds stability in the most complex environments. Additionally, the swivel mechanism has a suspension function, that in combination with the rest of the structure guarantees four wheels stability (4×4 wheel control) and constant contact with the surface, regardless of the terrain. According to Roboneers, the Camel 4×4 UGV model is “Created for the most demanding and difficult tasks, it is compatible with C4VISION systems that allow to plan supply routes or run it remotely to discover new paths”. All wheels are equipped with gear motors, improving roadability as well as allowing to overcome difficult obstacles, while sensors provide a 360° viewing angle. If necessary, the platform can serve as a shield during a sudden fire contact in open areas (Промисловий портал, 2020).
Besides, Camel can be powered in 2 different ways: through rechargeable batteries or a diesel engine generator. This is quite convenient, as when the platform is required to operate in conditions of secrecy, it can be powered by batteries and become virtually silent. It can operate for more than ten consecutive hours when carrying a normal load and can operate for up to four hours when running entirely on battery power (Технічні Характеристики ДКТ “Jamal”, 2020). The vehicle can reach a maximum speed of 20 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 130 km. In addition, Camel UGVs are integrated with intelligence systems. They can be used to remotely launch drones, that in turn can function as a repeater system to increase the distance of secure radio communication between the operator and the platform.
Roboneers plans to further develop UGV platforms, providing them with more autonomy and self-sufficient decision-making tools. Furthermore, on the company’s official website it is stated that a “Continuing development of Camel heads toward contactless drone charging and increasing remote control and surveillance to 30 km zone”.
Despite the scarce “popularity” of unmanned ground vehicles on the battlefield, their use and prospects for the future are evident, and the countries that underestimate their significance risk to fall behind, as these vehicles are a crucial part of the new “battlefield order”, where manpower will eventually be replaced.
Written by Linda KHOTIAN, Communications and Public Relations Team at Finabel – European Army Interoperability Centre
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Roboneers (2020) https://roboneers.com/unmanned-ground-vehicles#CAMEL-UGV [Accessed: 12 December 2020]
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