The Navy will soon begin trying out its new man-portable, bomb-disposing robot, the Advanced Explosive Ordnance Disposal Robotic System (AEODRS) Increment 1, according to a service official.
AEODRS Increment I “just went through contractor testing, and we’ll be getting our production-representative models in the next few months to be able to go out and do some testing with the system,” said Capt. Aaron Peters, a program manager in Naval Sea Systems Command’s Expeditionary Missions Program Office.
The system, whose prime contractor is Northrop Grumman [NOC], fits in a backpack and weighs less than 35 pounds. The Navy issued a request for proposals for AEODRS Increment 2, a medium-sized version, in early October. The request also contains an option for Increment 3, the largest variant, which will weigh up to 750 pounds.
Increment 2 is “a given, but as we’re moving down, it might be viable for industry also, whoever gets that contract, to do the option for Increment 3,” Peters said Oct. 27 at the Unmanned Systems Defense conference in Arlington, Va.
Also at the conference, Lt. Col. Cory Berg, an Army product manager, said the Army’s Route Clearance and Integration System (RCIS) program is on track to issue a request for proposals in the current quarter. RCIS would allow the rubble-clearing High Mobility Engineering Excavator (HMEE), built by JCB, to operate in unmanned mode in addition to its current manned mode.
Berg also said that the Army will start fielding the new mine-clearing M160 Robotic Mine Flail in March or April. “We’re finalizing the operators’ manuals and we also have the maintenance manuals to finish up on this piece of equipment,” he said. The system is built by Croatian firm DOK-ING.