US Air Force deploys robot guard dogs to defend one of its bases for first time

The guard dogs at a US Air Force base in southern Florida look very different to the average pooch.

The “autonomous ground vehicles” unveiled this week at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, are drones equipped with cameras and microphones and will be patrolling the base’s perimeter making sure that no unauthorised visitors cross the fence to get a peek at the 325th Fighter Wing’s state of the art F-22A Raptors.

The robots were designed and built by Ghost Robotics, from Philadelphia. The “dogs” are known as a Vision 60 by the USAF while the manufacturers call them Quadrupedal Unmanned Ground Vehicles, or Q-UGVs.

Maj. Jordan Criss, 325th Security Forces Squadron commander, said that his team were very excited to be the first squadron equipped with the Vision 60.

"We are the first unit within the Department of Defence to use this technology for enhanced security patrolling operations,” he said, adding: "These robot dogs will be used as a force multiplier for enhanced situational awareness by patrolling areas that aren't desirable for human beings and vehicles.”

He explained that the Q-UGVs wouldn’t be replacing traditional guard dogs, but simply providing a new layer of functionality alongside existing forces.

He said the robot dogs would provide "an extra set of eyes and ears” for the base security team and would be “computing large amounts of data at strategic locations throughout Tyndall Air Force Base.”

Ghost Robotics has also provided equipment for the USAF’s Advanced Battle Management System, which uses 4G and 5G technology to create a seamless battle space for commanders.

Dr. Will Roper, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for acquisition, technology and logistics, said “Future battlefields will be characterised by information saturation,” and the ABMS was designed to streamline the experience and make next-generation warfare understandable on a human level.

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