Scorpion: Armenian company makes lethal UGV capable of replacing soldiers on battlefield

A family-run Armenian robotics company has rolled out its new unmanned ground vehicle (UGV): a military-grade, universal, remote-controlled, all-terrain fighting machine designed to engage in battle, or as its maker says to “substitute a soldier on the battlefield”.

Scorpion: Armenian company makes lethal UGV capable of replacing soldiers on battlefield

Scorpion: Armenian company makes lethal UGV capable of replacing soldiers on battlefield

STEPANAKERT, APRIL 13, ARTSAKHPRESS-ARMENPRESS: The lethal machine is by no coincidence named Scorpion.

Made by Isatech Robotics, the Scorpion’s prototype was first unveiled in 2017.

Isatech Robotics founder Vahan Isajanyan says they came up with the idea of making a UGV in the early 2000s.

After completing his military service, Isajanyan, a graduate of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Armenia, teamed up with his brother and launched an engineering company. Initially, they were making civilian remote controlled devices such as gates. In a few years they began making more sophisticated machines, for example they designed and assembled an industrial robot for an American company used in polishing synthetic diamonds. Programmers, engineers and mechanics joined their team.

Now Isajanyan is working with his father and brother.

“I remember when I returned from military service me and my brother decided to make a remote-controlled robot for the military. After the 2016 war we realized that we must accelerate the process. The 2016 war was the main reason why I left my family in Belarus and returned to Armenia. We already had a prototype of the robot in 2017,” he said.

Isajanyan presented the final model of the combat UGV and the transport UGV – a tracked all-terrain vehicle designed for cargo transport and medevac operations.

The combat vehicle, or as Isajanyan says a "robot-soldier", the Scorpion, is a man-sized 400kg machine capable of engaging targets on the battlefield. Isatech Robotics says it can do anything the soldier can do.

“The device has a remote-control range of up to 10 kilometers and maintains quality of the video feed. The operator wears VR goggles and sees the live video in HD quality, easing target acquisition. If the operator fails to notice a target the device automatically acquires the target,” Isajanyan said, highlighting the importance of avoiding live stream delay. “If there is stream delay it’s impossible to engage in battle online. If the video appears on your screen even half a second late you won’t be able to hit a moving target. If contact is lost with the Scorpion it automatically returns to base. The Scorpion is capable of being operational without re-charge for quite a lengthy period of time. It can move in all terrains, including high incline slopes, which is important in conditions of Armenia’s terrains. Moreover, in the event of flipping over the Scorpion can lift itself back on tracks and continue working,” Isajanyan said.

The Scorpion features a recoil absorber.

The first 2017 model was designed to carry only an AK74 assault rifle, but the new Scorpion can be equipped with a machine gun and a grenade-launcher simultaneously.

Isajanyan argues that the American and Russian-made equivalents of the UGV have numerous flaws compared to the Scorpion, for example they are controlled only with a remote control and without the VR goggles.

The Scorpion’s armor is capable of withstanding small arms fire and offers 90% protection, while the American and Russian variants have only 30-60% protection.

According to Isajanyan, the Scorpion can’t be hit at nighttime. It is thermal resistant.

The Scorpion can even easily enter 1-meter depth waters.

“The Scorpion is ready for serial production. It can be used in wars,” Isajanyan said, adding that he has received many offers for cooperation while working on American projects.

“In 2017 a businessmen came to us from China and said that he is very interested in the Scorpion. He offered to make a large investment and launch production in China, noting that he’d cover all expenditures. I refused, I told him to wait, if my country would not want the robot-soldier then only we’ll speak,” Isajanyan said.

Isatech Robotics tested the device many times and presented it to the Armenian military, but the Ministry of Defense turned them down.

Now, Isatech Robotics intends to consider foreign offers in case of being turned down by the Armenian military again in 2022.

The cost price of the Scorpion ranges between $40,000-$45,000, and Isatech Robotics is willing to sell it to the Armenian military even at the cost price.

Isajanyan says they are planning another round of tests in a month, and the Ministry of Defense has preliminarily agreed to send representatives for viewing.

The Isatech Robotics UGVs can also be used with civilian applications, such as by firefighters or law enforcement agencies.