The US Army and Navy have ordered more than 160 Centaur unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), plus related spares and accessories, from Flir Systems, in a multimillion-dollar contract.
Totalling US$23.5m (£18.3m), the two contracts are being sourced through the Army’s Man Transportable Robotic System Increment II (MTRS Inc II) programme.
Since March, Flir has announced orders totalling more than US$65m (£50m) for nearly 500 Centaur UGVs from the US Air Force, Marine Corps, and now Navy.
Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams will use the Centaur UGVs to assist in disarming improvised explosive devices, unexploded ordnance, and similar hazardous tasks.
According to Flir, operators can quickly attach different sensors and payloads to the robot to support other functions, including chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) missions.
“With the Navy joining the MTRS Inc II programme, it means that all US military forces will now use a common, medium-sized robotic platform for EOD and CBRN operations,” said Roger Wells, VP and general manager of Flir’s unmanned systems and integrated solutions business.
“In an era of increased joint service operations in combat zones worldwide, having common equipment across EOD units can support more standardised tactics and techniques, plus add new efficiencies in sustainment and training for years to come.”
In 2017, the US Army selected Endeavor Robotics, acquired last year by Flir, as its medium-sized robot provider for MTRS Inc II.
The company designed Centaur as its MTRS solution. Flir is delivering robots to the US Army under that multi-year programme of record, which upon award was valued at more than US$150m (£117m), including options.
These latest orders fall under the current ceiling, said Flir in a statement.
Centaur is a medium-sized UGV that provides a standoff capability to detect, confirm, identify, and dispose of hazards.
Weighing approximately 160 lb, the open-architecture robot features an advanced EO/IR camera suite, a manipulator arm that reaches over 6ft, and the ability to climb stairs.
Modular payloads can be used for CBRNE detection and other missions.
Deliveries are expected to begin in the third quarter of 2020.
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