By Andy Choi
The U.S. Army and Marine Corps are going to test a new devices called “Thowbots” or throwable robots in Afghanistan. The Department of Defence said that they will soon be receiving a shipment of 4,000 of these small robots that can be used for reconnaissance in potentially hazardous combat situations.
Joint IED Defeat Organization has chosen three lightweight throwable robots to be tested in combat in Afghanistan before possible production. These include the iRobot's 110 FirstLook robot, MacroUSA's Armadillo V2 Micro Unmanned Ground Vehicle, and QinetiQ North America's Dragon Runner.
Lt. Col. Dave Thompson, of the Marine Corps is the project manager with the Robotic Systems Joint Project Office. He said that these robots can provide dismounted troops that extra bit of stand-off distance. He added that they were all looking at similar systems. RS JPO was trying to do some coordination between all of these organizations and see if they could look at the systems that are out there, look at the requirements, and start to posture ourselves for the sustainment and the maintenance of these systems in the long term.
Mathew Way, program integrator for Mitigate and Neutralize, JIEDDO said that they were in the process of responding to a joint urgent operational needs statement for an ultra-light recon robot capability to support dismounted operations in Afghanistan. What they were going to try to do is give a sampling of every type of system down range across different regions of Afghanistan. More than likely there will be more than one system needed to answer this JUONS, he added.