Army Revamps Strategy to Acquire Robotic Mules

HDT Robotics' Micro Utility Vehicle, a candidate for the Army's squad multipurpose equipment transport (SMET) vehicle.

HDT Robotics' Micro Utility Vehicle, a candidate for the Army's squad multipurpose equipment transport (SMET) vehicle.

July 31, 2017 | Source: National Defense Magazine, nationaldefensemagazine.org, 24 March 2017, Stew Magnuson

The Army intends to buy 20 robotic mules from manufacturers and send them out with brigades for a year-long operational test and evaluation, the service’s program manager in charge of unmanned ground systems said March 23.

Bryan McVeigh, project manager for force protection, said a recent Army Requirements Oversight Council looking at the squad multipurpose equipment transport (SMET) vehicle put the breaks on the program, which was heading for fielding in the early 2020s.
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The basic requirements will be that the mule carry 1,000 pounds, cover a range of 60 miles within a 72 hour period and generate three kilowatts of power at rest and one kilowatt while underway. The target price is $100,000, he said.

Related Army and Marine efforts have included the Ground Unmanned Support Surrogate (GUSS) and Multipurpose Unmanned Tactical Transport (MUTT) or Multi-Utility Tactical Transport (MUTT).