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Report: Fort Drum to be among the first to train with autonomous robotic support vehicle

Sgt. Derek Pinheiro and Spc. Tyler Lee, 1st Platoon, 95th Engineer Company (Clearance) train on the Talon IV Robot System during an equipment fielding event on Schofield Barracks on September 21. The Talon IV Systems are intended for manipulating objects and provide the ability for dismounted Soldiers to remotely interrogate uncleared structures and spaces. U.S. Army photo by Capt. W. Bryant Samuel (Photo Credit: Capt. W. Bryant Samuel)
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Soldiers with the 10th Mountain Division will be among the first to train with a new autonomous robotic support vehicle.

The Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport is able to carry up to 1,000 pounds of gear over 60 miles in 72 hours, potentially reducing the load for soldiers carrying food, water and other key supplies.

The division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team will test the vehicle, along with soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division of Fort Campbell, Ky.

The details of the vehicle testing were reported by the Army Times, citing remarks this week by Bryan McVeigh, project manager for the Army’s Force Protection Robotics Portfolio. Mr. McVeigh spoke about the vehicle at the National Defense Industry Association’s Ground Robotics Capabilities Conference.

Army officials said in a news release that four companies were awarded contracts to make 20 of the vehicles, which will be tested by soldiers in the two brigades until the end of next year.

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An expedited contracting process was used as leaders pushed to get weight off the backs of dismounted soldiers, and requirements for the vehicle were limited to give more flexibility to developers.

The only firm requirements were that the vehicles be able to haul 1,000 pounds off-road, cover 60 miles in 72 hours and cost $100,000 or less each.

The Army looks to pair the vehicles with soldiers across the service by 2025.

The Army Times report can be found at http://wdt.me/smet.

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©2018 Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, N.Y.)

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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