China: Combat robots are coming!

Terminator-SalvationNorinco, the Chinese military-industrial giant booked a little surprise during the Zhuhai airshow. While the new Chinese stealth fighter, the CF-31, drew all eyes, Norinco has unveiled several combat robots indifferently armed with a machine gun or a rifle. These UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle) are designed to replace soldiers in the most dangerous situations. For the first time these robots are available for export. This is the first time that these warrior robots are offered for sale on the world market.

The first armed robots are already in service in South Korea

Norinco-Sharp-Claw

The Sharp Claw 1 unveiled by Norinco in Zhuhai.

China launches its combat robots in the assault on the world market. Norinco, the flagship of China’s military industry has unveiled several robots armed during the Zhuhai airshow. Client countries of China will dare to deploy such machines in the ranks of their armies? For now, also the drones, robots are used for mine clearance or non-armed reconnaissance. Much talked first exercises conducted by the U.S. Army in Hawaii with transport LS3 Big Dog Boston Dynamics quadrupeds, but the US military have already tested robots armed to Fort Benning in 2013. Meanwhile, South Korea is one of the few armed to the step when installing defensive robots Samsung at its border with the North.

A global market of more than 8 billion dollars in 2020

The very aggressive MAARS of Anglo-American Qinetiq, tested by the US Army in 2013.

The very aggressive MAARS of Anglo-American Qinetiq, tested by the US Army in 2013.

The market of the UGV, be it civilian or military, is far from being anecdotal. According to MarketandMarkets, it will represent 1.51 billion in 2014. Analysts estimate that it should be multiplied by 5 by 2020 and $ 8.26 billion. Currently the United States and his English ally represent to them two 53 per cent of the global market, ahead of the Germany and the Japan. Major suppliers are iRobot, Northrop Grumman, QinetiQ, Cobham, Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics. Norinco therefore seeks to be a place in this ranking.

2 robots were unveiled by Norinco in Zhuhai. The lighter, baptized “Battle Robot” seems to be a copy of the 510 Packbot, a well known demining robot iRobot. Its Chinese version was presented armed with his remote control device. The second, the Sharp Claw 1 is heavier and more ambitious. Autonomous, it was presented with a 6 × 6, the Sharp Claw 2 autonomous transport vehicle. Armed, Sharp Claw 1 displays 120 kg on the scale and seems a replica to the MAARS of Qinetiq. Will he find takers with the allies of China on the world market?

Sources :

“Airshow China: Rise of the robots”, Shephard Media, November 13, 2014

“Airshow China 2014: Norinco debuts Battle Robot UGV”, IHS Jane’s 360, November 12, 2014

 “Global demand for unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) to grow five-fold over next six years”, Military&Aerospace Electronics, September 5, 2014

“BigDog enjoys walkies with US Marines in Hawaii”, Wired, July 15, 2014

Armed Robots Demo at Fort Benning”, Military.com, October 18, 2013

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