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The Army’s Latest Unmanned Bomb Detector

by John Reed on December 9, 2011

Take a break from all the Iran-Sentinel drone drama this week and check out this video showing one of the Army’s latest anti-IED technologies. Basically, it’s remotely controlled version of a standard Bobcat construction vehicle equipped with various bomb detection and disposal tools. Developed and fielded by the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force, the little vehicle is designed to travel ahead of dismounted troops on trails that are too small to accommodate MRAP sized IED detection gear. One version of the Bobcat, dubbed the Marsupial Unmanned Ground Vehicle Sensor Package, even carries its own little robot that can be sent to examine bomb found by Bobcat’s sensors.

The video above shows three versions of the robo-tractors designed to detect and help disarm IEDs. Click through the jump to see a version of the Bobcat called the Minotaur being used by U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Lance December 9, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Interesting very interesting and must be much cheaper than a MRAP or a crappy JLTV idea.

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William C. December 10, 2011 at 2:30 am

This is an unmanned IED removal/detection vehicle. Nobody's actually riding in the thing like an MRAP.

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Dan Gao December 12, 2011 at 11:14 am

And has a totally different mission…

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Fred December 10, 2011 at 5:33 am

Qinetiq (UK) make great products. Shame they cannot curb development costs. Still a fine piece of kit that should hopefully save lives.

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blight December 10, 2011 at 10:23 am

The only caveat of this equipment is that Bobcats tend to be low speed, so convoys move at the speed of the unmanned bobcat. If our opponents truly do have teleoperation jamming equipment, then they could conceivably shut it down from afar, and use that to initiate an ambush.

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read December 11, 2011 at 9:58 am

only it says "travel ahead of dismounted troops on trails that are too small to accommodate MRAP sized IED detection gear."

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blight December 11, 2011 at 10:30 am

The Bobcat occupies the unhappy space between manportable and vehicle-portable. The Bobcat will totally destroy the advantage of surprise that a dismount force has. At that rate, we might as well have a GATOR mounted force on these bobcat sized trails, and then be bottlenecked by the speed of the bobcat.

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kim December 12, 2011 at 7:26 am

Oops, first read that as 'teletransportation' equipment, and got all exited about it.

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blight December 11, 2011 at 10:31 am

If we're going with teleoperated Bobcats, why are we still dithering around with MULE again? Might as well use teleoperated Gators to carry gear and save us some money.

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Dan Gao December 12, 2011 at 11:15 am

MULE was cancelled already. Unless you mean the SMSS, which is likely to share the MULE's fate soon.

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Dan Gao December 12, 2011 at 11:16 am

Sounds interesting. About how many are they going to buy?

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