The U.S. Army and Navy have ordered more than 160 of FLIR Systems’ Centaur UGVs, plus related spares and accessories.
Totaling $23.5 million, the two contracts are being sourced through the Army’s Man Transportable Robotic System Increment II (MTRS Inc II) program. Deliveries are expected to begin in the third quarter of 2020.
“With the Navy joining the MTRS Inc II program, it means that all U.S. military forces will now use a common, medium-sized robotic platform for EOD and CBRN operations,” says Roger Wells, VP and general manager of the Unmanned Systems & Integrated Solutions business at FLIR.
“In an era of increased joint service operations in combat zones worldwide, having common equipment across EOD units can support more standardized tactics and techniques, plus add new efficiencies in sustainment and training for years to come.”
A medium-sized UGV, Centaur provides a standoff capability to detect, confirm, identify, and dispose of hazards. The open-architecture robot weighs approximately 160 pounds, and is equipped with an advanced EO/IR camera suite, a manipulator arm that reaches over six feet, and the ability to climb stairs. Modular payloads can be used for CBRNE detection and other missions.
Since March, FLIR has announced orders totaling more than $65 million for nearly 500 Centaur UGVs from several entities including the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps, and now Navy. The UGVs will be used by Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams to help disarm improvised explosive devices, unexploded ordnance, and similar hazardous tasks.
Different sensor and payloads can be quickly attached to the robot to support a variety of other functions including chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) missions.
The U.S. Army selected Endeavor Robotics in 2017 as its medium-sized robot provider for MTRS Inc II. Endeavor Robotics, which was acquired by FLIR in 2019, designed Centaur as its MTRS platform. Under that multi-year program of record, which upon award was valued at more than $150 million, including options, FLIR is delivering robots to the Army. These latest orders fall under the current ceiling.
This article was published by AUVSI News on June 9, 2020.