U.S. Marines Strapped a Rocket Launcher to a Robot Dog You Can Buy on Amazon

U.S. Marines strapped a rocket launcher to an off-the-shelf robot dog and fired it remotely in September. The demonstration was part of a demonstration at the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command’s Tactical Exercise Control group in Twentynine Palms, California. There’s a video of the exercise.

As first reported by The Warzone, members of the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) were at Twentynine Palms to demonstrate the rocket-launching dogs as part of a proof-of-concept demonstration. Companies like Boston Dynamics and Ghost Robotics are pioneering the use of robot dogs for domestic and military use, but that’s not what ONR brought to Twentynine Palms. No, the dog they used was the relatively cheap Chinese-made Unitree Go1, which anyone can buy on Amazon for about $5,000.

“It’s important to note that this is not a mil spec platform,” an unnamed Marine from ONR says in the video. “This is not what we would issue to Marines, this is a test platform for ONR.” The people test driving the robot dog called it a goat.

The video shows Marines strapping an M72 anti-armor rocket launcher to the back of the robot dog called goat and firing it down range. The robot dog was in a sitting position, wedged between two piles of sandbags and braced by a steel bar on the back. It seemed to handle the recoil of the rocket fine. 

“That thing’s creepy,” one Marine says off camera.

“The bigger one, they actually put a goat head mask on it,” the handler says. “And it’s able to growl, bark, and even throw sirens.”

“Well, I guess there’s a psychological aspect to it,” a marine responds.

A video of another Unitree robot dog firing a submachine gun went viral in 2022 after it was uploaded on Facebook. This model was a UnitreeYusu model strapped with a PP-19 Vityaz submachine gun. That robot dog didn’t handle the recoil of the gun as well as the Marine’s goat handled the recoil of the rocket launcher.

Boston Dynamics and other robotics companies promised not to weaponize their robot dogs last year. That hasn’t stopped the U.S. military from using unarmed versions of Boston Dynamics’ spot. Philadelphia-based Ghost Robotics, notably, did not sign that pledge and showed off a robot dog sporting a massive rifle pod strapped to its back at a trade show in 2021. But it doesn’t matter, there’s a demand for automated weapons platforms and other companies are filling the void.

A black-clad robot dog armed with an RPG-26 danced for the public at Russia’s Army Expo in 2022.. The People’s Liberation Army in China has published photos and videos of armed robot dogs conducting patrols.

The armed robot dogs aren’t coming. They’re here.


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