Army tests machine-gun sentry robots in DMZ
By Kim Deok-hyun
SEOUL, July 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Army said Tuesday it has deployed a set of machine gun-toting sentry robots on a trial basis at a guard post on the southern side of the military buffer zone with North Korea.
The robot, developed by a consortium of South Korean firms led by Samsung Techwin Co., can be used to detect, warn and provide suppressive fire against intruders along the Demilitarized Zone, Army officials said.
"Since last month, we have deployed the robots on an experimental basis at a guard post in the central sector of the DMZ," an official said.
If the trial period until the end of the year is successful, the Army will deploy them at guard posts along the 250-kilometer-long DMZ, the official said, requesting anonymity.
Using heat and motion detectors, the SGR-1 robot can sense possible threats on a real-time basis and alert command centers.
If the command center operator is unable to identify the possible intruder through the robot's audio or video communications system, the operator can order it to fire its machine gun or 40mm automatic grenade launcher, according to the Army official.
The two Koreas are separated by the DMZ on the 38th parallel. The South Korean Army maintains a force of 650,000, and is supported by some 28,500 U.S. troops, while the North has 1.1 million soldiers.