US Army selects S-MET provided
The US Army announced at the end of last month that it has selected General Dynamics Land Systems to produce the Small Multipurpose Equipment Transport, or S-MET, to lighten soldiers' loads by providing Infantry Brigade Combat Teams (IBCTs) a robotic mule capability. The contract, valued at $162.4 million, is to produce 624 S-METs. Delivery to army begins in the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2021.
According to the army, a phased, quicker acquisition plan has allowed it to make ‘informed programme decisions based on direct soldier feedback on commercially available technology’ allowing it to field equipment faster than a typical acquisition processes allows. The S-MET's basic operational capabilities include: unmanned/optionally manned system; 1,000 lbs carriage; 60-plus mile operating range in 72 hours; and generation of 3kw of power (stationary) and 1kw (moving).
The US Army issued a directed requirement in April 2017 for a rapid materiel acquisition aimed at unburdening infantry brigade combat teams with a robotic capability. To fast-track the acquisition process, the US Army's Program Executive Office for Combat Support & Combat Service Support, awarded S-MET Phase I Other Transaction Authority (OTA) agreements in June 2017 for eight platforms.
The S-MET programme marks one of the US Army's first Middle Tier Acquisitions (MTA) for Rapid Fielding. This acquisition approach foregoes the traditional Department of Defense 5000.02 acquisition process, streamlining the delivery and fielding of capabilities within a period of five years.
‘The S-MET programme has focused on meeting the army's emphasis on enhancing soldier lethality and rapidly fielding modernised capabilities. Our product management team for Applique and Large Unmanned Ground Systems undertook a great challenge to develop a strategy using experimentation and technical demonstrations to streamline the S-MET acquisition process,’ said Timothy Goddette, the US Army's program executive officer for Combat Support and Combat Service Support.
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