back to article Nothing says 2022 quite like this remote-controlled machine gun drone

The latest drone headed to Ukraine's front lines isn't getting there by air. This one powers over rough terrain, armed with a 7.62mm tank machine gun. The GNOM (pronounced gnome), designed and built by a company called Temerland, based in Zaporizhzhia, won't be going far either. Next week it's scheduled to begin combat trials …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cutting the cable

    If the cable is severed, GNOM is programmed to return to a set of GPS coordinates for pickup.

    It might be an obvious point, but I hope the operators have the sense to make sure the return-home coordinates aren't too close to where they are.

    Wouldn't want to lead the Russians to an easy win.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Cutting the cable

      Presumably there is a severed fibre-optic cable back to where you are - hope the Russians aren't well read in Greek myths?

      1. Natalie Gritpants Jr

        Re: Cutting the cable

        Or just shine a really powerful laser back down the cable and look for smoke.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Cutting the cable

          Or grab one end and pull real hard. I think I saw this technique demonstrated in a Tom and Jerry cartoon.

      2. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: Cutting the cable

        Presumably there would also be a security detachment waiting for irritating Russkies.

    2. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: Cutting the cable

      If I were the Russians, I’d cut the cable, then strap some explosives to the drone, and send some boys with a remote detonator, hanging back a bit.

      Of course, if I were the Ukrainians, I’d have a few drones near my position, with the scopes and the machine guns, waiting for semi smart Russians. Or send the drones out in pairs, covering each other.

      1. Snowy Silver badge

        Re: Cutting the cable

        Rather than sending some boys out with a remote detonator just connect you own wire and camera and blow it up when you see it as got home.

        Or rig the explosives to detonate once it stop moving and detects motion nearby.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        drones in pairs

        I guess the Russians will be sending theirs out in threes - one to find the target, one to fire the ammo, and one to keep an eye on the two dangerous intellectuals...

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: drones in pairs

          >If I were the Russians, I’d cut the cable, then strap some explosives to the drone, ....

          If I were the Russians I'd steal the drone and try and sell it on ebay

      3. ITMA Silver badge

        Re: Cutting the cable

        The Russians tried something like that during WW2 - training dogs to run under tanks at the appropriate moment in return for food.

        Then they turned them into four-legged bombs.

        Only problem was... They'd trained them to run under Russian tanks and that is the sound they recognised. So when "deployed" on real battlefieds they ran under the tanks they recongnised the sight/smell of which were NOT the German tanks (smelt totally different to the Russian ones).

        I doubt the dogs "volunteered" to be bombs.

    3. Robert Grant

      Re: Cutting the cable

      Yes, cut cable, stick bomb on drone, wait.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    smart or stupid

    we are sliding down into dark depths... now what will kill us first?

    What we have done to the environment


    What we will have done to ourselves arming AI bots

    ...this world has been wasted by the worst of humanity

    1. Persona Silver badge

      Re: smart or stupid

      Anything totting a 7.62mm machine gun has more potential to harm you than a warm day.

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: smart or stupid

        But most people are more likely to encounter one rather than the other.

      2. darklord

        Re: smart or stupid

        Except the mock up shows a machine gun fixed mounted so can only fire in elevation mode. or which ever way the vehicle is facing. 50kg is nothing a grenade cant take out easily.

        Also 7.62 which configuration. usual eastern block calibre is 7.62 x 39 and is considerably less powerful than a NATO 7.62 x 52 or is it the the larger 7.62 x 54R which is about the same as a 7.62 NATO.

        And since when is a two feet high ATV drone with dirt big machine gun on top covert.

        Funny how war has opened up the coffers for Ukraine to develop its own weapons systems which eventually will be sold to NATO in some form or another at an inflated cost.

    2. SundogUK Silver badge

      Re: smart or stupid

      How can a world be wasted? The Earth only has value because we are on it.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fortunately Useless

    Not wishing to be an 'internet general' but:

    This is pointless. The purpose of a machine gun of this calibre is suppressing fire - keep the enemy's heads down while you charge their position.

    A remote drone that does this is pointless

    A wheeled remote drone is even more pointless.

    Small and wheeled has the advantage over a flying drone that it can carry more payload, and is faster than a tracked vehicle - but is limited to roads.

    So a 'remote control car' mine that can drive into a convoy and give a vehicle a "significant emotional event" = useful. especilly if autonomous so you can set it goign and run away.

    But a drone that is supposed to drive over urban rubble or fields, but with 2inch high wheels, and then stop and sweep the enemy with machine gun fire for 30secs (until it runs out of ammo or needs a barrel change) from a height of 12inches ?

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

      Re: Fortunately Useless

      Alternately, if the drone is capable of highly precise fire, use it to shoot out the kneecaps of opposing soldiers at range. You've then created at least two problems for the opposing force.

    2. nintendoeats Silver badge

      Re: Fortunately Useless

      Or it goes into a building, behind enemy lines, and shoots them. Unlike a human, the robot does not fear death. That's probably the most terrifying part of all of it.

      1. batfink

        Re: Fortunately Useless

        But if you're a wheeled vehicle in a building then you quickly run into the Dalek problem.

      2. darklord

        Re: Fortunately Useless

        so it can climb a step . not. enemy forces simply need a step and hey presto Dalek syndrome

        Its limitation will be the ammo it can carry. p[rob 1-200 rounds at most. Machine guns are prone to jams and 200 rounds the barrel will be cooked anyway.

        This is throw away tech. and chances are it'll be grenaded long before it gets anywhere near anything useful/.

        The idea is nothing new. have they been watching Steven King movies, Maximum Overdrive springs to mind.

        It'll give limited suppressing fire to enable a retreat is about it or an annoyance. This is more about selling something to NATO in the hope of drumming up business opportunities.

        What's new about a cable controlled drone, these have been around for years

    3. MrDamage Silver badge

      Re: Fortunately Useless

      > Remote drone is useless?

      Never heard of a decoy?

      > sweep the enemy with machine gun fire for 30secs (until it runs out of ammo or needs a barrel change) from a height of 12inches ?

      To paraphrase Shepard Book from Firefly : While there are ethical conundrums over the use of drones for killing, there are less conundrums when it comes to kneecaps.

      1. short a sandwich

        Re: Fortunately Useless

        Conundra surely?

        Learned from graffiti in the Temple area on a construction hoarding. Top tip don't abuse Latin in the vicinity of large numbers of lawyers.

      2. Korev Silver badge

        Re: Fortunately Useless

        > While there are ethical conundrums over the use of drones for killing, there are less conundrums when it comes to kneecaps.

        If you shoot a soldier’s kneecaps then they’ll need four or more people to get them off the battlefield removing five people, if you shoot the head then you “only” remove one.

        Somewhat grim maths…

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Fortunately Useless

          I believe there are rules against weapons designed specifically to wound - if the war went to penalties this could count against them

          1. Sven Coenye

            Re: Fortunately Useless

            Wounding instead of killing was the thought behind NATOs switch from 7.62mm to 5.56mm for infantry rifles in the late '80s/early '90s. You may be right, but the whole operation is now based on it.

            1. SundogUK Silver badge

              Re: Fortunately Useless

              Part of the thought and not the major part either. The main reasoning was:

              Urban combat requires significantly less range out of a personal weapon, therefore make everything lighter so more ammunition could be carried, enabling every member of the section/squad to provide suppressive fire if required. (Up to then it was usually a single soldier per section.)

              The 'tumbling' effect of the 5.56 round chosen wasn't planned for but once recognized was accepted as a bonus.

          2. Mark 65

            Re: Fortunately Useless

            All weapons are designed to wound. The criticality of that wound depends on the nature and location.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Fortunately Useless

          Haven't you seen the news from Ukraine? The Russians have a workaround for this "problem". They just shoot their own wounded and leave them behind. There have been intercepted cell phone calls where Russian soldiers are complaining about it.

          You are not dealing with a real Military. You are dealing with thugs and criminals.

    4. Kev99 Silver badge

      Re: Fortunately Useless

      Sounds like you're not too wild about the know-it-alls in the Air Force killing the A-10? Or for that matter, scapping the A-26 or the "real" Thunderbolt, the P-47 Jug.

    5. Persona Silver badge

      Re: Fortunately Useless

      This is pointless

      The use cases are endless. e.g. In urban warfare when you are trying to take control of a street you trundle it off down to the far end and look for opposing forces which you can suppress. You now control both ends of the street so there are far less points of ambush and your human forces can advance in relative safety.

    6. Cliffwilliams44 Bronze badge

      Re: Fortunately Useless

      This would probably be more useful in an urban situation than in an open field battle. It could see this being used to clear buildings out of the last remaining combatants.

  4. Neurons for Kryton

    These things...

    These things seem to be crawling out of the development wood work from every direction. One that caught my eye was a Taser Drone from Axon. Luckily the project seems to have been closed down because of ethics issues -

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There must be some infrastructure project managers employed by various ISPs thinking, mmmm . ., put a cut and cover trenching bucket on that thing and I feel sure we can drastically reduce many of the delays and obstacles holding back full-fibre roll out!

    Good luck to those peeps.

    Lviv and let Lviv - that's what I say!

  6. TheMaskedMan Silver badge

    It's a dalek

    "it's a Dalek. Very primitive, but undeniably a Dalek!"

    1. Snowy Silver badge

      Re: It's a dalek

      that or a very primitive cyberman, but you just wait until it is upgraded!

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: It's a dalek

        A Dalek is a basically a tank with a living organic driver inside. A cyberman is a person largely replaced by mechanical parts but still retains the organic brain sans emotions and "humanity". This is a very primitive Quark (if we are sticking to Dr Who "monsters")

  7. Kev99 Silver badge

    Didn't a company out of New England develop a similar vehicle back in the 198o-1990s?

  8. martinusher Silver badge

    Goliath wasn't too successful

    The Germans deployed a similar device on the end of a long cable called "Goliath". The idea was sound but the unit never overcame the shortcomings due to its trailing cable (and it wasn't 5Km long). The Allies regarded it as being of little military value.

    The problem is that the moment the enemy gets behind it its dead. Sure, it can find its way home but its going to have to run quite a gauntlet to get there.

  9. An_Old_Dog Silver badge

    Proving Grounds

    People and companies are using the invasion of Ukraine the same way Hitler used the Spanish Civil War: as a proving ground for new warfighting technologies and techniques.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is turning into

    Seems that this conflagration might end up being known as "The drone wars"

  11. batfink


    I don't know how accurate that photo is supposed to be, but that MG mount doesn't look as if it has much in the way of pan and tilt.

    So would you have to find an appropriate ramp to be able to shoot at anything more than a couple of feet off the ground?

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Re: Aiming?

      I see a pivot and what looks like a hydraulic strut. That's tilt. Pan probably involves doing burnouts.

      1. Zolko Silver badge

        Re: Aiming?

        And what about recoil : the wheels are very close and the gun is very high, wouldn't this thing turn over like a turtle at every shot ?

        If I had to make such a thing, I'd make it lower, wider and longer. And yeah, put the gun on a tip-tilt tourret to be able to fire in any direction. And also, in order to be able to drive on any terrain, replace the wheels by some sort of re-circulating support.

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