Russian scientists have unveiled a new high-tech robot that they claim can accurately detect and kill humans from over four miles away. Designed for use near volatile borders it is claimed the 'Flight' robot can also detect and shoot aerial threats such as low-flying drones or vehicles from up to six miles away.
Using radar, thermal imaging and both colour and black-and-white video cameras, the robot can also discover information about the origins of drones and track their movements before sending the information to Russian military bases.
The robot can use multiple long-range grenade launchers and is currently going through operational tests, with chief project engineer Dmitry Perminov saying the device has already been used to protect public property.
He said, according to the Mirror: "In its structure there is a radar unit that detects a target: human - to about 7km distance, the car - up to 10km. After detection, the target is engaged using an optical system.
"This system can be applied not only as a military interface, but also for the protection of any strategic objects. Interest in it is not only [limited to] the military, but also in oil to control the pipeline and stop tapping and the theft of oil.
"We already had a real case during the system test. At some point [the robot] recorded the theft of electric cables. It filmed a video where a man was seen sawing a wire. A team was sent out and he was caught red-handed."
The news of the latest weapons development in Russia comes as tensions between Nato and the Kremlin deteriorate to levels not seen since the Cold War. The 28-member bloc has agreed to triple the size of an incumbent response force on its eastern border to 40,000 troops in the face of so-called "Russian aggression" since the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014.
Poland, Lithuania and Estonia, who sit on Nato's eastern border, all expressed concern last month that Russia has deployed nuclear-capable Iskander-M missiles to its strategic outpost of Kaliningrad. Russia's defence ministry dismissed their worries, saying the new deployment was part of planned military exercises.
Perminov added that the robot is very much a work-in-progress, with the final version intended to differentiate between enemy and allied troops and use long-range missile or artillery systems. The ultimate goal, executive director of 'Flight' Leo Nosenko says, would be that the robot could operate independently, without human oversight.
"It is not only interesting for us to detect an incoming drone, but also to shoot it down," Perminov told Russian news media. "This is a job for the future."