A robot “dog” carrying a rocket-propelled-grenade launcher was a breakout star of the first day of the Russian ARMY 2022 trade show in Moscow, which is often a showcase for new Russian technology and weapons. But internet sleuths soon found that the “dog” was a Chinese toylike model with a battery life of about one hour. Screenshot via Twitter video.
Every year, the Russian defense industry gathers for a convention to show off the nation's latest military hardware.
The star of this year's show — known as the Military-Technical Forum ARMY 2022 — looked like it might be a combat-ready robot "dog," which appeared to share design and mobility with Boston Dynamics robots in use with the New York City Police Department and Air Force security forces.
The robot, cloaked in black, was filmed walking around the trade floor, looking perhaps a bit more adorable than fearsome, but with a Russian-made RPG-26 rocket-propelled-grenade launcher mounted on its back.
Though the seriousness of the RPG-wielding dog was questionable even on its face (why would the RPG launcher need visual sites — both iron and possibly an optical scope — if the robot dog is aiming it?), social media sleuths quickly identified the "dog" as being neither Russian nor particularly fierce.
Though the black, Ninja-style bodysuit covered much of the robot, its "eyes," size, and the shape of its head gave it away as a Go1 from Unitree, a Chinese robotics company.
The robot "dog" is, at first glance, a miniature version of sturdy US-made machines like the Boston Dynamics Spot, which is used by the US military and the NYPD.
The Unitree Go1, which, according to the manufacturer, can travel at close to 6 mph and carry about 8 pounds. Unitree photo.
But it's not clear whether the Go1 is fit to fight. According to the Unitree website, its maximum cargo weight is about 8 pounds, which means it can carry the 6-pound RPG-26, but just barely. Its max walking speed — presumably when unencumbered with anti-armor weapons — is about 6 mph. It also has a battery that the company claims gives it an hour of movement.
Also, it's about 1-foot tall — not a package likely to be a difference-maker on the road to Kharkiv.
You can order a Go1 for $2,700 from the company website or from Alibaba, a Chinese online marketplace. Several are also for sale on Ebay for closer to $5,000, including one listed as being in Greenwich, Connecticut, (100%-rated seller, but just 209 ratings, and only one in the last 12 months — possibly sketch).
Matt White is a former senior editor for Coffee or Die Magazine. He was a pararescueman in the Air Force and the Alaska Air National Guard for eight years and has more than a decade of experience in daily and magazine journalism.
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