PREMIUM: Jaguar prowls into action
The IDF has confirmed for the first time that it is using the Jaguar heavy unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) along the Israel-Gaza border.
After an operational evaluation, the IDF plans to equip the UGV with additional sensors and weapon systems ‘according to the mission’, a spokesperson told Shephard.
Jaguar is currently armed with a General Robotics Pitbull RWS with a machine gun controlled from a remote operation command post. The UGV can also be armed with either the FN MAG or Israeli Negev machine gun.
The CONOPS for Jaguar is to integrate it with tactical forces in mobile, dismounted operations. The IDF foresees a support role for the vehicle in a wide range of missions, including intelligence, surveillance and armed reconnaissance; convoy protection; decoy; ambush; and attack.
Jaguar was developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) in close cooperation with the technological department of IDF Ground Forces Command. Rani Avni, deputy GM of the Land Systems division and head of Robotics and Autonomous Systems at IAI, described Jaguar as the company’s most advanced robotic ground vehicle design to date.
Jaguar is armed with a machine gun controlled from a remote operation command post, but additional weapons and sensors can be added according to mission requirements, the IDF says. (Photo: IDF)
According to the IDF, the combat UGV travels autonomously, detects and bypasses obstacles, avoids collisions and trampling, calculates a route for itself and detects its surroundings by dozens of sensitive sensors.
‘The Jaguar is replacing manned patrols in very dangerous areas and can travel according to a pre-planned route or according to commands given by a control station,’ said Avni.
The UGV currently operates around the clock as part of a smart border concept developed by the IDF Gaza Division.
The IDF claims that Jaguar has already proven its effectiveness even in foggy and dusty operating conditions or harsh terrain.
The vehicle is powered by an electric motor which enables it to patrol the border fence very quietly with a low heat signature.
According to the IDF, Jaguar even has the ability to shut down its classified sensors and other sensitive components if it falls into enemy hands. An immobilised or captured UGV can even transmit precise location data to a UAV if commanders decide to destroy it from the air.
Precise details of the sensor suite on Jaguar remain classified, but Avni said that options include optical sensors and radar.
Sensors can be tailored to user requirements, he added.
Jaguar weighs 1.5t when carrying a basic suite of sensors. It can employ its integrated weapon systems on a command from a staffed control station, but where necessary, pre-programmed scenarios enable the UGV to fire autonomously.