Israel’s Unmanned Ground Vehicle’s (UGV) pioneer G-NIUS is expanding its Guardium UGV family with a logistics load carrier (Guardium LS) designed to support dismounted infantry units on the battlefield. In the logistics support role, the vehicle can be tele-operated from mobile or portable terminals, or act in a mule mode, where it autonomously follows a squad unit.
The manned version of the Tomcar platform used for the Guardium vehicle has already been used operationally in the logistical support role; the Springer vehicle, acquired earlier this year by the British Ministry of Defence, under the urgent operational requirement (UOR) program, has recently deployed toAfghanistan in support of British forces in-theater.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) considers deploying such vehicles both as optionally manned-driven vehicles and an unmanned ‘logistical ‘mules’. The vehicle, carries loads up to 1.2 tons of supplies, employs the Guardium autonomous mission control system, enabling units to use the system in a variety of operational scenarios, including route clearing, base protection, ISR and logistic support. In the logistics support role, the vehicle can be tele-operated from mobile or portable terminals, or act in a mule mode, where it autonomously follows a squad unit.
The IDF has recently deployed the semi-autonomous Guardium UGV along the Gaza border, where the vehicle is used as part of the border security system. The Guardium LS incorporates lessons learned in the course of the Guardium UGV’s operational deployment.
The IDF logistics corps has identified the unmanned load carrier as one of the capability gaps to be fulfilled by unmanned systems, after encountering critical challenges during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, where IDF logistics were restricted in pushing supplies forward into the battle area. Since then, the loads that infantry units must carry only increased, forcing planners to field load-carrying systems to support dismounted combat elements.