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WATCH: Robot dog with rocket launcher makes debut in Russia

A robot dog equipped with a rocket launcher on its back made its debut at a Russian arms fair, according to a video posted online by Russian media outlets.

The video showed a robotic dog, dressed in black and dubbed the M-81 system, carrying the launcher on its back as it tiptoed across the convention floor before it crouched and waited for an order to fire the rocket. The footage was taken at the Russian army expo outside of Moscow, which runs from Monday to Sunday.

The robot dog can be used for reconnaissance, to carry and deliver medicine, and for passage through smaller and more dangerous areas, including rubble, the dog’s developers told Russian state news outlet RIA Novosti, according to Vice. It is not clear whether the dog is semiautonomous or manual.

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“When used in combat, the robotic dog can also be engaged in target designation, patrolling and security,” the developers said.

Robotic dogs with weapons aren’t a new idea. S.W.O.R.D. International and Ghost Robotics shared photographs of their own robotic dog last year that carried a sniper rifle. However, S.W.O.R.D. said it did not plan to use the dogs for autonomous use, according to PC Magazine.

“If we can use this system on any unmanned platform to interrogate these dangerous areas in conjunction with troops on the ground, warfighters will have a better chance of returning home to their families,” S.W.O.R.D. told the outlet.

A similar video went viral last month, showcasing a robotic dog firing a PP-19 Vityaz, a Russian submachine gun, according to Vice. The video originated in March, but it was not widely noticed until July.

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The U.S. Air Force announced last year that it was dabbling with semiautonomous robot dogs in order to gain a new perspective of a remote location or places with hazardous materials. The robotic dogs were delivered to the Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida.

“As a mobile sensor platform, the Q-UGVs will significantly increase situational awareness for defenders,” Mark Shackley, the security forces program manager at Tyndall, said in a press release at the time. “They can patrol the remote areas of a base while defenders can continue to patrol and monitor other critical areas of an installation.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced in February that it is also looking into using robotic dogs to help patrol the southern border of the United States.

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