A highly capable small military robot design exhibited at the recent DSEI event in London has been ordered in bulk by the United States Army.
The US Army Rapid Equipping Force is set to receive 315 Recon Scout XT micro-robots through a $4.8m order announced in October 2011. Alongside these, it will also get SearchStick devices, which work in tandem with the Scout XTs to elevate their viewing position.
The Recon Scout XT is manufactured by ReconRobotics and, in a press release covering the US Army order, the firm's Military Programs Director, Ernest Langdon, described the company's extreme pride at having been selected. "The era of the personal robot has arrived for US troops and, like the ballistic vest and night vision goggles, our Recon Scout XTs will save many lives", he commented.
Recon Scout XT Micro-Robot
The Recon Scout XT micro-robot is designed to acquire data in situations that might put conventional warfighters at risk. Sent in ahead of troops, it can illustrate the dimensions of an enclosed space, locate the presence of Improvised Explosive Devices or check out battle-damaged vehicles.
It's equipped with a black and white video camera that captures 30 frames per second across a 60 degree panorama, before streaming this footage back to its controllers. Extremely durable and robust, the Scout XT's manufactured from a mixture of aluminium and titanium. This allows it to survive after being thrown or even being dropped from a UAS (Unmanned Aircraft System), flying at a maximum altitude of 30 feet.
It has an operational range of between 100 and 300 feet, depending on the environment in which it's operating and, weighing just 1.2 pounds, it's about as heavy as a bag of sugar. That makes it highly portable and highly deployable while, painted black and very quiet when in motion, it's also relatively low-observable. A bonus for operators is that, since the robots can occupy one of three frequency transmission paths, up to three Scouts can manoeuvre in the same space simultaneously.
US Army Scout Robot Order
The US Army Scout robot order represents the latest success for ReconRobotics, which was established five years ago. Over 2,000 of ReconRobotics' designs presently serve with multiple strands of the US armed forces and other organisations.
DSEI - the Defence & Security Equipment International event - was staged in London in September 2011 and saw a host of new military technologies exhibited and showcased. These included BAE Systems' BLAST helicopter system and Supacat Limited's upgraded Supacat 400 vehicle.
Recon Scout XT image copyright ReconRobotics