AUSA Global 2019: Grizzly UGV breaks cover
Textron's Howe and Howe displayed its bid for the US DoD’s Squad Multi Purpose Equipment Transport (SMET) programme for the first time during AUSA Global Force in Huntsville as the programme reaches its phase II conclusion.
The tracked UGV has been developed as an electric diesel hybrid platform and is configurable both for a load carrying and weaponised payloads.
Grizzly, as Howe and Howe’s RS2H1 SMET platform is named, in line with SMET programme requirements is able to accommodate a 500kg payload and can cover over 12 miles in its silent all-electric mode.
Phase II of the SMET programme will finish at the end of May 2019 and the presence of the UGV for the first time indicates the confidence of Howe and Howe technologies in the platform being selected for Phase III, where the programme could become a robotics programme of record.
UGVs are becoming increasingly common along with government programmes to develop unmanned vehicles. However, commitment form militaries to launch UGV procurement programmes remains relatively uncommon.
Geoff Howe, one half of the founders of Howe and Howe Technologies said that he believes the SMET programme is a viable one and will become a programme of record with a production contract being awarded.
However, Mike Cooney Business Development with Polaris, of which its MRZR-X has also been participating in phase II, told Shephard: ‘What the SMET system is, is that they [the US army] are trying to figure out whether the technology is mature enough.
'Is it to a point where we ought to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy or should we continue to put in a couple of million dollars and develop the technology and maybe in a few years it becomes more of what we [the army] want to do?’
The Grizzly was downselected for the US Army’s SMET programme phase II and the platform is undergoing testing and evaluation alongside the Polaris MRZR-X, the Multi-Utility Tactical Transport from General Dynamics Land Systems and the Hunter Wolf from HDT Global.