The mini Terminator robot, which is made by the company Temerland and is around the size of a standard microwave, will be able to provide information about Russian positions and fire support using a machine gun. The first robots are expected to go into service next week.
Uncrewed ground vehicles (UGVs), which are essentially remotely operated robots, have not played a big role in the conflict so far. However, portable radio frequency jammers are increasingly knocking drones out of the sky, and GNOM provides a jam-proof way for Ukraine to gather information remotely. Moreover, the fact that GNOM operators do not use radios means it is more difficult for artillery to detect and target them the way that they would with drones.
Each GNOM has four large wheels, weighs around 110 pounds, and features a quiet five-horsepower electric motor and 4x4 drive. There are also stable firing platforms equipped with 7.62mm machine guns capable of hitting targets with remarkable accuracy.
Although most UGVs are radio-controlled, GNOM spools fiber optic cable behind it to provide a broadband link that resists radio countermeasures.
"The operator doesn't deploy a control station with an antenna, and does not unmask his position," noted Temerland CEO Eduard Trotsenko. "The cable is not visible, and it also does not create thermal radiation that could be seen by a thermal imager."
The cable gives GNOM a range of 1.25 miles. Should the cable break, the vehicle will automatically return to a predetermined location. It is also capable of some autonomous navigation despite being operated by remote control.
According to Trotsenko, GNOM can defend itself, thanks to the machine gun and can also offer fire support for situations that could be too dangerous for personnel. There are other versions of GNOM that can be used for sabotage, engineering, intelligence gathering and logistics. The company has also announced other potential variants that would service drone carriers.
One more aggressive GNOM can deliver TM62 anti-tank mines. In a video posted online, it can be seen driving beneath an enemy vehicle and detonating. The seven-kilogram explosive charge of the mines can destroy even the heaviest tanks, but just getting close to it would be enough to damage and immobilize it.
The current GNOM, however, will take advantage of its nearly silent nature and low profile to carry out scouting duty, accompanying Ukrainian forces while in hostile territory. When equipped with a 360-degree camera, it can provide detailed views of its surroundings. It can also deliver supplies like ammo to the front lines. When fitted with a special trailer, it could also evacuate injured soldiers and bring them to safety.
Tactical robots can often be used to keep soldiers out of the line of fire, reducing casualties while keeping a close view of the enemy, and GNOM could well play a valuable role in providing a view of Russian forces and guiding artillery fire without putting Ukrainian lives at risk.