Developed by the Iranian Government in the late 1960's, the first version of the Daisy XT501, then called 'CADS' (Camel Analytical Defence System), was very successful but short-lived in the battlefield due to lots and lots of innocent domesticated animals being slaughtered by Iraqi and American forces in the Iran - Iraq war.
South African spies (in specific spy number K35462) stole the blueprints from the Iranian Military Headquarters in Teheran in 1972. It was brought back to the Southern part of Africa to be rapidly modified to suit the local conditions, the animal represented was changed from a camel to a cow, for obvious reasons. Although destined to be used by the South African Defence Force in the Border wars against Mozambique and Angola, it is still a mystery wether the Daisy XT501 was ever in action.
This highly developed and technologically advanced analytical defence system, was mainly used as a survey-and information gathering vehicle, but could also be used in combat situations if desired. The idea is that the Daisy XT501 needs to get as close as possible to the desired target to gather useful information about the enemy, return to the base camp and communicate the information retrieved. This would have been a lot easier today where satellite tracking can be used, in the 1960's however, the information was recorded on video and had to be brought back to headquarters to be analysed.
The original blueprints of the, then 'CADS', shows that it was designed to be operated by remote control. This proved to be impractical seeing that operation could only take place from close range. After a few unsuccessful attempts it was then adapted to be operated from inside the system. The operator climbs into the Daisy XT501 and with joystick controls similar to those of a helicopter, 'flies / drives' the vehicle to a position close enough to enemy strongholds to gather information. The operator has limited space to move about inside the vehicle, but has got some high-tech equipment to aid him / her in the quest to gather information. Cameras are positioned on various places of the cow to give the operator 360 degree vision with screens situated in front of the operator. The cameras can be set to record at any given time. Highly sensitive microphones are situated in the ears of the cow for audio support.
One of the definite advantages of the Daisy XT501 is the fact that the vehicle has the ability to fly. This means that the operator doesn't have to wait for any rescue operation to evacuate, but can do so on his / her own accord. It also gives the operator the ability to steer clear of any potential dangerous situations. The Daisy XT501 is equipped with a rotor situated in the centre of the cows body. The rotor contracts into the body of the cow to be completely invisible. The tail is used as the steer and the legs as the landing gear. The cow launches itself with its legs bending down and then actually kicking itself up into the air with a springlike action.
Although the Daisy XT501 can only reach speeds of up to 90 km/h, it has proved to be enough to retrieve information and return the operator safely to base camp. The result of the low speeds reached and limited manoeuvrability of the Daisy XT501 causes the operator to do most of the survey work at night. This is also the reason why some of the first night vision equipment was mounted on the Daisy XT501, another breakthrough in the military intelligence race.
The most challenging task of the whole project was not the construction of the system nor the reconstruction of a domesticated animal, but the technical development of the four legs enabling it to move smoothly across difficult terrain. The solution for this was the instalment of small wheels underneath the hooves of the cow. This enables it to wheel its way rather close to the selected target area. The wheels is then retracted into the hooves and the vehicle is then positioned closer to the target using the limited manoeuvrability of the cow’s four legs.
The Daisy XT501's primary purpose was to gather information, but has to be prepared for the unfortunate event of a conflict situation. The cow is therefore equipped with some reinforced detachable bayonet-like horns, used to be rammed into a hostile vehicle and detached to remain in the target. These can be detonated with a remote detonator controlled by the operator. The horns can also be launched in the direction of the enemy for distances reaching up to 100m and exploded on cue. Two rotating 12mm rapid fire machine guns are also mounted on either side of the cow, they can penetrate almost any advancing vehicle, and has the ability to fire 7 rounds per second for 10 minutes at a time. These defence mechanisms are however only used to scare away or stall the enemy long enough to escape, and won't be able to withstand a full-scale military onslaught.
For more information on these and other inventions contact ‘REFORCE Industries’ PO Box z345, Zucarest, Albania, 01223564.
By Henk Esterhuizen