CHINA / MILITARY
PLA commissions new-type robot for bomb disposal
Published: Mar 31, 2021 08:03 PM
A soldier affiliated with an engineer and NBC defense brigade under the Chinese People's Liberation Army 71st Group Army operates a new type of bomb disposal robot in training in Spring 2021. Photo: Screenshot from China Central Television

A soldier affiliated with an engineer and NBC defense brigade under the Chinese People's Liberation Army 71st Group Army operates a new type of bomb disposal robot in training in Spring 2021. Photo: Screenshot from China Central Television

A new robot type has entered service, as it demonstrated its capacity in a recent bomb disposal exercise by the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). The commissioning of such a device is an example of the PLA's modernization as machines have replaced humans in dangerous missions and increased combat efficiency, analysts said on Wednesday.

An engineer and nuclear, biological and chemical defense brigade under the PLA 71st Group Army recently held a human-robot integration tactical training in East China's Anhui Province, in which the new bomb disposal robot made its debut, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Tuesday.

Remotely controlled by an operator, the robot crossed a contaminated zone, climbed over steep slopes of nearly 40 degrees and used water cannons to dispose of explosives, CCTV reported.

The flexible robot is equipped with six cameras that can monitor the battlefield environment in all directions, can turn 360 degrees on the spot and overcome obstacles in complicated environments like mountains and snow fields, the report said, noting that it is up for missions like detecting, locating, transferring and defusing explosives.

In another training scenario at a residential building, the caterpillar-tracked robot showed its capability to walk stairs and dismantle the explosives with its robotic arm rather than setting it off with water cannons, the footage shows.

The utilization of the new equipment effectively explored the potential of human-robot integration in combat, CCTV said.

The Chinese people's armed forces are pushing for mechanization, informatization and intelligentization as a part of a modernization plan by 2027, the 100th anniversary of the forces' founding, and unmanned equipment like robots and drones are an important part of it, a Chinese military expert told the Global Times on Wednesday, requesting anonymity.

Explosive ordnance disposal is a high-risk mission, and explosives are threats to both military and civilian personnel whether or not they are trained, the expert said, noting that the deployment of bomb disposal robots can greatly reduce potential casualties.

Other types of robots for purposes like reconnaissance, ammunition carrying, assault, fire support and minesweeping are also entering service with the PLA, and have proved their efficiency in exercises, the expert said.


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