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AUVSI 2017: Ground robot ready to compete (video)

9th May 2017 - 01:06 GMT | by Beth Maundrill in Dallas

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Lockheed Martin's Squad Mission Support System (SMSS) UGV could be in with another shot with the US Army after the demonstrations in 2012 with the service failed to lead to a programme of record.

The company, showcasing the vehicle at its Grand Prairie site in Dallas ahead of AUVSI, said that it intends to compete in the upcoming squad multipurpose equipment transport (SMET) programme.

Myron Mills, senior programme manager, said the company is looking forward to an upcoming industry day to find out more about the SMET programme.

The SMSS can be sling-loaded by UH-60 helicopter and carried internally in a CH-47 with 544kg payload and has also already conducted some operations for the US Army. These include the vehicle being outfitted with different mission equipment packages to conduct logistics, counter-IED, mobility, dismounted-soldier support, and reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition; while it has also been tested by soldiers in Afghanistan in 2012 in a transport and logistics role to lighten the load for soldiers in combat operations.

In the SMET programme the company will be up against Milrem and Qinetiq's Titan UGV which takes a different approach to the SMET requirement, not least as a tracked vehicle rather than wheeled.

SMET is planned to be a family of semi-autonomous robots designed to carry a squad's heavy equipment, as well as other functions such as power generation, network extension, dismounted route clearance and a weapons platform.

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