The US Army summed up the results of the SMET (Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport) tender for the development and supply of ground-based robots to the troops, which can be used to transport weapons, ammunition, and equipment. And the winner of the competition was General Dynamics Land Systems, which offered an eight-wheel robotic vehicle – MUTT (Multi-Utility Tactical Transport) system.
The U.S. military has been conducting an SMET tender since 2017. As a result of the competition, the U.S. Army expected to receive a robotic high-pass system capable of carrying cargo weighing up to 454 kilograms. The robot must be able to operate without interruption for 72 hours and travel a distance of at least 96 kilometers. The transport system must be able to operate in at least two modes: following the fighters of its branch or moving under the control of the operator.
Four companies took part in the tender: the Applied Research Associates/Polaris Defense consortium, General Dynamics Land Systems, HDT Expeditionary Systems, and Howe and Howe. They offered the military a robotic version of the MRZR wheel buggy, the MUTT robot, the WOLF wheel robot and the RS2-H1 tracked vehicle. The robots have been tested by the U.S. military at the Fort Benning military base in Georgia since the fall of 2017.
Under the terms of the agreement with the winner of the competition, General Dynamics Land Systems will have to supply the military with 624 new robots, service equipment and simulators. The deal amounted to $ 162.4 million. It is expected that the supply of robots will begin in the second quarter of fiscal year 2021 (the first quarter of 2022). All robots ordered by the U.S. Army must be assembled and delivered before the end of October 2024.
The MUTT robot is designed in three variants with 4 × 4, 6 × 6 and 8 × 8 wheel formulas. In all three variants, the wheelbase can be replaced by a tracked one. The U.S. military chose an eight-wheeled version of the robot that can carry loads weighing up to 544 kilograms. The mass of the device itself is 1.4 tons with a length of 2.9 meters and a width of 1.5 meters. The robot can swim and cover land distances of up to 96 kilometers. The robot is also equipped with a 3 kilowatt generator. The device can be controlled from the remote. The robot also has a semi-automatic mode for following the soldiers of its squad.
In September of this year, the US division of QinetiQ introduced an anti-tank version of the Titan cargo track robot. The device received a remotely controlled turret with a portable anti-tank missile system FGM-148 Javelin. The weight of the new versions of the Titan crawler robot is about 1 ton. The remotely controlled turret is so far equipped only with an optoelectronic system, with which the operator is able to detect targets and aim an anti-tank missile at them.