libyan system integration-video
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Libyan system integration video

An IEEE Spectrum article features an Al Jazeera video (see below) about Libyan rebels making their own weapons.  The rebels transform a child’s toy into a weaponized UGV, prompting IEEE to conclude that “Anyone can (on principle, at least) build a robot, and given the need or the motivation, anyone can put a gun on one…”

In addition to demonstrating the inevitability of battlefield robots, I think the video also illustrate guys’ innate desire to stick weapons on things. Supposedly, the first weaponized UGV in Iraq was not designed for lethal force, but actually IED detection. Troops decided that it would be a good idea to tie automatic weapons to it.  Similarly, look at the second video below, and you will see the BigDog robot modified to be a lot more dangerous than intended by Boston Dynamics.


The resource-starved Libyans are quite impressive in how they were able to integrate components from a wide variety of sources into usable weapon systems. In addition to creating military robots, they fabricated a video–operated remote control machine gun for a truck that is eerily similar to some systems in use by our Army.

The Libyans enthusiastic cannibalization reminded me of press reports about the Navy’s practice of part-swapping.  Supposedly, cannibalization has gotten so out of hand in the Navy that it’s actually a threat to its overall state of readiness.

Of course, if deep Defense cuts prompt more cannibalization, maybe we can hire Libyans as technical experts.