Could This Gun-Toting Drone Replace Combat Soldiers?

Gear
TIKAD is an aerial drone that can fire munitions.
Screenshot via YouTube

The future is here, and with it comes a potential replacement for combat troops: badass unmanned aerial vehicles that drop ordnance and take out enemy targets with a delightful arsenal of built-in armaments. Now, one company wants to to eliminate the need for boots on the ground altogether


In a video published on Aug. 8, Florida-based startup Duke Robotics bills the TIKAD, a gun-toting drone bristling with weapons, as “the future soldier.” Though the name suggests it’s an acronym, there’s no evidence to support that, but we think it might stand for “Totally Insane Killer Aerial Drone,” because it can go places that are too dangerous for troops.

Remotely piloted, the remote-controlled eight-rotor TIKAD can carry up to three times its weight and is equipped to man a variety of different weapons, including machine guns. And it can be operated by soldiers on a tablet from remote locations, according to Extreme Tech.

Duke Robotics is framing the TIKAD as a simple solution for a voting public exhausted by rising casualty count of America’s forever wars. “Troops can use TIKAD to handle potentially dangerous situations quickly and efficiently from the air, reducing the need to send our sons and daughters into harm’s way,”  the company claims. “This technology also allows troops to potentially disarm a situation remotely, without ever deploying a ground presence.”

The Department of Defense is reportedly already impressed with TIKAD. In 2016, the drone was awarded two prizes by the Pentagon: The Security Innovation Award and first prize at the Combating Terrorism Technology Conference sponsored by the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office, according to Guns.com.

“Warfare is inevitable,” the company says. “Mass casualties should not be. Our defense technology is changing constantly, but until now, there has never been a solution that truly prevents casualties.” The company hopes TIKAD will fill that need, but so far, only the Israeli military is has publicly voiced interested in TIKAD.

In its 2017 budget request, the Pentagon asked Congress for $4.61 billion for drones, less than in previous years, due to the drawdown, but we can only imagine that number will rise as drone warfare proves a safer, more efficient option for warfighting.

Task & Purpose reached out to Duke Robotics and will update as more information becomes available.

Photo illustration by Paul Szoldra

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