VIRAL! China’s PLA Soldier Walks Robo-Dog Armed With Machine Gun During Military Drills With Cambodia

A video of a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldier walking with a robot dog equipped with a machine gun has gone viral. The video is reportedly from military drills between China and Cambodia.

The video, shared on X (formerly Twitter), is captioned “Chinese PLA soldier walking with his armed robot dog.” It has rapidly garnered attention, amassing over 227,000 views and 1,300 likes.

The emergence of the video comes as China conducts military drills around Taiwan. Many analysts have interpreted the exercises as a test of the PLA’s ability to exert control over the self-ruled island.

The video has fueled speculation that robotic technology could be pivotal in any potential conflict over Taiwan. Opinions on the robot dog’s effectiveness, however, are divided.

Some skeptics have questioned whether the robot can maintain accuracy or remain upright after firing shots, given the added weight and recoil from the mounted gun. Others, however, see these robots as pivotal assets in a potential invasion of Taiwan.

The footage reportedly originated from “Golden Dragon,” the largest-ever joint military exercise between China and Cambodia.

The 15-day exercise, from May 16 to May 30, involves 14 warships, two helicopters, 69 armored vehicles, and tanks and includes live-fire, anti-terrorism, and humanitarian rescue drills. The drills are at a remote training center in central Cambodia and off the country’s coast.

Cambodia, a steadfast ally of China, has received billions in Chinese investments, raising concerns in Washington about Beijing’s growing influence in the region. The cause of concern is a Cambodian naval base being upgraded by China on the Gulf of Thailand.

The “Golden Dragon” exercise prominently features the so-called “robodogs”: remote-controlled four-legged robots with automatic rifles mounted on their backs.

However, during the demonstration, which was attended by journalists and military officials, the robot dogs were shown walking on leashes and did not display their shooting capabilities.

This is not the first instance of such technology being demonstrated by the Chinese military.

Clash Report also posted a video from 2023 showing an armed Chinese PLA robot dog alongside soldiers during an exercise. In the video, the robot dog was the first to enter a dangerous area, followed by the soldiers.

China’s Robo-Dog Technology 

Modern warfare is evolving rapidly, with technological advancements playing an increasingly prominent role. At the forefront of these innovations are armed robot dogs. It is in this domain that China has emerged as a dominant force, showcasing remarkable progress in recent years.

File Image Robo-Dog

Initially trailing behind their American counterparts in technological sophistication, Chinese robotic dogs have made significant strides, narrowing the gap considerably.

These robotic canines boast impressive capabilities, including the ability to navigate stairs, perform acrobatic feats such as backflips, traverse challenging terrains like garbage dumps or tropical rainforests, and sustain continuous operation for nearly four hours while carrying a 20kg load.

One notable testament to China’s advancement in this field occurred in 2023 when US Marines utilized a Chinese-made robot dog during a proof-of-concept test. The quadrupedal system, the Unitree Go1, demonstrated its mobility, maneuvers, and load-carrying capabilities and fired an M72 Light Anti-Tank Weapon (LATW) from its back.

Despite this demonstration, it’s essential to note that the US military isn’t necessarily seeking to acquire large numbers of Chinese-made robot dogs. The Unitree Go1 was likely chosen due to its affordability and accessibility. Its price tag is under $3,000 plus shipping.

The Unitree Go1 robot dog with the USMC during the September test in California

In contrast, more sophisticated quadrupeds, such as the US-made Boston Dynamics Spot, retail for around $60,000 and are not intended for military applications, as the company strongly opposes weaponizing their robots.

While the US Army had earlier used a Boston Dynamics robot dog for mine clearance in Ukraine, it remains cautious about the widespread deployment of quadrupedal platforms. This hesitance stems from concerns over noise levels and logistical challenges, despite earlier attempts to utilize robotic pack mules dating back to 2004.

File Image: Robotic Dogs

Chinese armed robot dogs are not confined solely to US military engagements. In 2022, a St. Petersburg company offered an anti-tank rocket launcher armed robot dog to the Russian military, based on the same Chinese-made platform used by the US Marines.

Beyond China and the US, other nations are also entering the fray. The Indian Army, for instance, has developed its robot dog called the Multi-Utility Legged Equipment (MULE). Unveiled during the North-Tech Symposium 2023, this technology is designed to support surveillance and combat missions in the region’s challenging terrain.