Chinese firm demonstrates drone-borne “dog of war”

A Chinese defense contractor has posted a video clip showcasing a bleak marriage between an octocopter drone and a killer robot dog.

Set against a dramatic soundtrack from the alternate World War II strategy game Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, the video originally posted on Weibo, a Chinese microblogging platform, shows a heavy-lift drone approaching a rooftop of a building in a desolate-looking urban landscape.

The shot continues to show the drone landing and deploying a package from under its frame. The compact bundle then unfolds into a machine-wielding robot dog that sets out to explore its surroundings in a chilly scene hinting at the future of warfare.

The video was posted by an aptly-named Weibo account, “Kestrel Defense Blood-Wing,” which is verified and seems to be linked to a Chinese Kestrel Defense company. Other content posted on its feed shows the contractor specializing in combat robotics and reconnaissance tools.

Screenshot from Weibo.

The text posted alongside the original video referred to it as “dogs of war descending from the sky.”

It further explained: “Red Wing Forward heavy-duty drones deliver combat robot dogs, which can be inserted directly behind the enemy’s weak rear link to launch a surprise attack.”

“It can also be dropped on the roof of the enemy’s building to occupy the commanding heights to suppress firepower. Meanwhile, ground troops can strike the enemy in the building, resulting in a three-dimensional pincer attack.”

While the details of the project are scarce beyond what can be seen in the video, it is clear that the concept was developed for urban battle and comes as tensions between mainland China and Taiwan, a self-ruling democracy that Beijing claims as its own, continue to soar.

The world’s leading robotics companies, including Boston Dynamics and China-based Unitree, both known for their dog-like robots, called against the weaponization of their general-purpose products in an open letter last week.

While the new generation of robots would provide “great benefit” to society as co-workers in industry and companions in homes, they also had the potential for misuse, the open letter said.

“Untrustworthy people could use them to invade civil rights or to threaten, harm, or intimidate others,” it warned.

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