Israel's military avatar: Robots on the battlefield, I

clearest characteristics of the future battlefield. It will be a battlefield devoid of troops, with vehicles doing what soldiers have done until now.”

Unmanned boats, land vehicles, and aircraft will be either controlled remotely or will function autonomously, preprogrammed to carry out a mission from start to finish, such as reaching an enemy bunker, transmitting a photograph back to a command post, launching a projectile at it, and returning, or blowing itself up to destroy the target and the people inside it.

Another characteristic of weapons now undergoing development is pin-point accuracy for urban warfare, especially in a world that has become less accepting of collateral damage.

Whereas up to a decade ago, planes would drop bombs that destroy everything within a 20 or 30-meter radius without any restraints in order to hit a certain target, that’s all over today,” Postman says. “We are working on capabilities that will make it possible to place a missile launched 70 kilometers away through a specific window of a certain house. It is also a question of costs. Armies will pay a lot for a missile only if they are sure that it will hit the target head-on.”

On top of these requirements, the weapons of the future will also be more efficient in terms of the ordnance delivered to the target. No longer will the same bomb or missile be used to deal with a man on a bike and a three-story building. Forces will be equipped with what they need to deal with certain objectives and not simply with “the lowest common denominator,” says Postman.

On the other hand, Rafael is also developing cross-platform systems for armies looking to cut down on costs. For example, one goal is a missile that can be fired from a helicopter, a fixed-wing plane, a boat, or a land vehicle and that can destroy tanks and above-ground structures and bunkers.

The miniaturization trend that has taken hold of the civilian market enables the introduction into military systems of things we couldn’t even dream of before, because of their size, weight and volume,” says Postman. “This is a worldwide tendency and future battlefields will be full of weapons and other items that are much smaller than they have been until now. For example, something that is today a square meter will be reduced to five square centimeters. This is especially useful in unmanned air vehicles, whose weight-carrying capacity is limited by the