Russian robot dog with rocket launcher raises alarm, mockery on social media

The Russian robot dog
It is reminiscent of Boston Dynamics' robot dog Spot. Photo credit: Supplied / Twitter

A Russian robot dog with an anti-tank rocket launcher on its back could either be an example of the terrible future of warfare or a hoax, depending on who you believe.

A video uploaded by Russian-state owned news agency RIA Novosti showed the dog seemingly disguised as a ninja at the 'Army-2022' arms fair.

Rob Lee, a PhD student with half a million Twitter followers who is an expert on Russian warfare, shared the video earlier this week.

A translation of RIA Novosti's post provided more details, saying the dog was a "sample of the M-81 robotic system, capable of conducting aimed shooting and transporting weapons".

It can also be used for civilian purposes, like in an emergency zone for reconnaissance, passage through rubble and delivery of medicines.

The dog is reminiscent of Boston Dynamics' robot dog Spot, although the brief video doesn't show enough to know whether its has similar capabilities.

Social media has been split on the video.

One compared it to the dystopian future shown in movies and television shows.

"I'm at the combination 'have none of you people seen Terminator, this was already an episode of Black Mirror'," they wrote.

Others described it as "scary", with one asking "who wouldn't want to pet the bringer of death?".

However not everyone is convinced.

Ukrainian media account Bykvu, shared by Lee, pointed out similarities between the robot and cheap knock-offs on a Chinese website.

"The secret of the Russian military industry: equipment from AliExpress and black stockings stolen in Ukraine," they wrote.

When asked by one user why the Russian's weren't using it on the battlefield already, Bykvu replied that "it doesn't work".

"It's a robot from AliExpress, dressed in this black cloth with a grenade launcher, possibly wrapped in duct tape."

"Typical of Russian equipment - it is either outdated Soviet or does not work without western or Chinese technology," they concluded.

So whether the Russians are developing a dog with an RPG strapped to its back or are just buying knock-offs in the hope of scaring people remains to be seen.