Israeli Terminator Drones with AR-15s: IDF Buying TIKAD Armed Light Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

The Israeli Defense Forces are looking at acquiring a drone with a punch, according to news outlet Defense One. Per an article of their website, the IDF is looking at the TIKAD from Duke Robotics; a lightweight aerial drone that is able to be equipped with a variety of small weapons, from the familiar AR-15, to machine guns or grenade launchers. What makes the TIKAD most notable is its size: Much closer to the handheld drones of hobbyists than the high-flying Predators of the military, the TIKAD is one of a slew of innovative new unmanned systems that are small and light enough for motorized or light infantry to take with them to the battlefield.

The TIKAD’s gimballed gun cradle. Image source: Duke Robotics

The TIKAD is remotely operated by a soldier on the ground, not a true “autonomous” vehicle. In this way, it is closer to a flying remote weapons station than a true armed robot.

One of the primary obstacles to arming aerial vehicles as light as this is managing recoil. To surmount this, the TIKAD uses a sophisticated recoil-absorbing gimbal to steady the helicopter drone as the gun fires, which in theory allows accurate, rapid fire with both semiautomatic and fully automatic weapons. The TIKAD drone is also larger than previous armed drone demonstrators, allowing it to not only carry heavier payloads – up to 22 pounds – but to stay airborne much longer



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Vhyrus

    I guess Terminator was only off by 20 years.

    • Juggernaut

      This will make it easier for the brave IDF warriors to shoot rock-throwing Palestinians who are upset about the theft of their land.

      • Alex @Sea

        Yeah, we all know about the Hebrew terrorists who take over day care centers to slaughter children…Oh, wait..

        • Do you also know about the Palestinians who deliberately starve out Israeli civilians and target UN-sanctioned hospitals with white phosphorus artillery shells? Oh, wait.

          There are no heroes and no clean hands in the Israel/Palestine conflict, only different sides that foreigners support as fits their foreign political views.

          • Alex @Sea

            I’ve been watching the s*** go on for over 50 years. To equate what the Israelis do to the Palestinians atrocities is simply stupid.

      • trjnsd

        If the IDF WERE shooting the rock throwers, they would STOP! Please go back into your hole….

      • john huscio

        Shooting fake citizens of a country that never existed….

      • Kelly Jackson

        You mean the land that Jordan lost during the 6 day war right?

    • noob

      Judgement Day is inevitable. All you can do is move the date.

  • Paul Epstein

    This was absolutely inevitable, and honestly I’m amazing it took this long to be an official project. It can assault positions without getting one of their own killed, that in and of itself is insanely valuable.

    What they’re probably going to need at some point, though, is a drone small enough to navigate doors/windows and clear buildings. Switch to something like a P90 instead of an AR-15 for reduced weight and recoil, and rely more heavily on auto-balancing with the propellers rather than a full gimbal system.

    • James

      180 degree rear ejection of the casing and hot gasses shouldn’t be a problem without a human holding the weapon, use it as a countermass for an autoloading small arms version of a “recoiless” rifle. There’s no backblast to worry about when it’s airborne away from friendlies. This would also work well with very high rates of fire.

    • Mr.SATism

      I can tell you as a fact that Israel has been working on military drones (not just flying ones) since the early 2000’s. I’ve even had some of my family members work on the drones at one point

    • If bombots are good enough for the DPD, they’re good enough for the IDF!

  • James

    I’m curious what kind of “recoiless” rifle setup could be created, considering that ejection of the case can go straight backwards with an aerial platform, and cases weigh more than the bullets they fire (typically). Something like instead of wasting recoil energy, it’s used to propel a spent casing (from the previous round?) backwards from the point of aim, significantly reducing the recoil from the forward shot. The casing isn’t aerodynamic at all, so it’d likely not be very dangerous I suppose.

    • The velocity of the ejrlected case os too low for it to substantially contribute to recoil.

      • James

        I definitely see that as an issue, which is why a downscaled RMK30 might be the way to go. It uses caseless 30mm rounds and is electrically primed I think. Backblast can be matched via the use of venturi nozzles to nearly null out effective recoil. Downscaling it to something in the 5.7×28 to 5.56×45 range worth of energy might be pretty awesome.

      • noob

        There’s an interesting program called the Rarefaction Wave Gun (RAVEN) which takes advantage of the fact that pressure drops in the bore of a barrel venting at both ends can only travel at the speed of sound in the bore (rarefaction wave propagation speed) which the bullet can move much faster.

        Traditional “recoil-less” systems waste a lot of propellant by opening the breech at or before firing. The RAVEN cannon opens the breech and vents gas after the projectile has moved far enough down the bore that by the time the rarefaction wave catches up with the projectile, it doesn’t have much of an impact on the final muzzle velocity.

        The downsides are the precision timing and complexity of the weapon, but the upside is obvious for light airborne weapons of large caliber.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9c358550bf6cbc8778776e1cfad19c52ebbd17e07b6a361be75a44ca4d984250.png

    • Tassiebush

      I have seen a patent for a superimposed load grenade launcher that has a counterweight and charge so it fires this symoultaneously out the back to cancel out the recoil. Only trouble is this would double the weight per projectile which isn’t great for a drone.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    This is the twin AA12 mounted autocopter. The AA12 has a patented anti recoil system. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b4d9cb4274f527609676f2a6494a2804365b3d85cebfa62ebc3712a4ebf516f2.jpg

    • Sermon 7.62

      Soon enough these things shall be omnipresent.

      • I banned you a couple of months ago and noticed you signed back in with a variation of the first name you used before. I’ve tried to give you a chance over the last 30 days to be civil and not demean other societies, countries and other readers. That hasn’t worked. There won’t be any further chances.
        Do not sign in again I’ll notice and remove that login as well.

        • Sermon 7.62

          Phil W “Associate Editor TFB” 3 hours ago

          “I banned you a couple of months ago and noticed you signed back in with a variation of the first name you used before. I’ve tried to give you a chance over the last 30 days to be civil and not demean other societies, countries and other readers. That hasn’t worked. There won’t be any further chances.
          Do not sign in again I’ll notice and remove that login as well.”

          You banned me not a couple of months ago, but about 15 months ago. No I did not sign back in with a variation of the name I used before. I signed in with the same name.

          You banned me for the same reason. You can’t stand it when someone critisizes the US of A. You ask a question and ban the user when it is answered. You expect apologies instead of that?

          Old timer! You are shameless.

    • okay how soon can you deliver enough to conquer a mid-sized american city, asking for a friend

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        If you’re talking about Lubbock then I’ll ship them over night.

  • Sermon 7.62

    There are countermeasures to that, like the Droneshield. It can take it down from 1,200 m. There’s a Russian one, that can reach it from 500 m.

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0d89e52a774e7d7a626f845b8852e189012469692e844b34a86f2b0ffd7fdf11.png

  • gunsandrockets

    People freak out about armed flying drones, but the real power of UAV has always been observation and fire control.

    If you really want to worry about armed small robotic vehicles, imagine a ground vehicle instead of a UAV, armed with an automatic 40mm grenade launcher and equipped with GPS navigation. By combining the recon of a small UAV with the indirect firepower of an an armed UGV, you can not only find but destroy soft targets within a couple of kilometers of the UGV. Any counter-battery fire would endanger the UGV instead of a crewed weapon position.

    If you really do want to use a rifle armed micro UAV, it makes more sense to fire while landed than while in flight. Sort of an airmobile sniper rifle.

    • This is the most logical direction of near future sci-fi asymmetrical warfare in the mid-21st Century; if “non-state actors” can afford a Hilux with a DShK on an AA mount, they can afford a common ATV with a remote operation kit and an AGS-30, supported by two or three commercial drones as FAC.

    • noob

      We don’t really have to imagine an unmanned ground vehicle that makes its own kill decisions with the authority of about 10g of high explosives. That unmanned platform is called a “land mine”. Some land mines move around to make self-healing minefields.

  • iksnilol

    22 lbs = 10 kg

    KAC Stoner LMG = 4.5 kg
    200 round plastic box with 5.56 = 3 kg

    *hint hint*

  • Sasquatch

    After I saw the video of that guy with a Kel tec pmr hooked up in his drone, I knew it was only a matter of time.

  • 22winmag

    Can we please have a little POLITICS here?

    The articles centered around drones, flashlights, knives, rocket launchers, Jihad Bentleys, crew-served weapons,. etc are really killing the FIREARMS theme here.

    • Sasquatch
    • RocketScientist

      Jesus dude. Have the complete lack of upvotes and the string of snarky replies given you the hint? We get it, you don’t these article, we don’t care. You don’t have to read these stories, or even this blog. Also, just a point of contention… Rocket launchers are firearms. Crew served weapons are firearms, and flying firearms are firearms. They’re all firearms. Get over it.

  • John

    Not for nothing, but if you shoot one of these down, you score a free gun. Seems like a design flaw.

    • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

      Thats always been the case when you shoot someone/something that carries a gun.

      Assuming you take control of the ground the gun toter died on.

    • noob

      I always wondered why they attached weapons to bots which had trigger, grips and heatshields for humans still attached. Seems like a bunch of dead weight that could be replaced with lighter cheaper components that are less friendly for human hands. that way after the bot weapon is captured the humans still need to spend time fabricating new triggers, grips, stocks, sights and heatshields before they can use the weapon effectively.

      I put it down to this being a developmental model made as quickly as possible. since we have seen ww2 tanker machine guns without stocks since the ball and socket gun port soaks up the recoil we will see drone weapons that are similarly chopped down for efficiency.

  • RicoSuave

    An early Skynet drone prototype ?

  • clampdown

    Wasn’t there a proposed quad mount for the American 180 to be used on scout helicopters? Hmm…..

  • RazorHawk

    The better to help ISIS topple Assad, i guess.