Anduril, Hanwha team up to bid on Army light payload robot

Anduril Industries and Hanwha Defense USA announced that they are teaming up to bid on the US Army’s Small Multi-Purpose Robot competition.

Anduril, acting as prime contractor, plans to deliver “a modified, autonomous-ready Uncrewed Ground Vehicle (UGV) based on Hanwha’s proven Arion-SMET platform, which has already demonstrated its performance in highly relevant and diverse environments in India Pacific, including the latest Foreign Comparison Tests with the US Army and Marine Corps in Hawaii,” the companies said in a February 29 statement.

The Army selected General Dynamics Land Systems’ Multi-Utility Tactical Transport, or MUTT, for the SMET unmanned ground system in a first increment of the program. The $162.4 million contract, awarded in October 2019, would be completed at the end of October 2024. GDLS won another follow-on contract in 2020.

Now the service has opened bids for the second increment of the program intended to carry equipment and light payloads to reduce the burden on soldiers in the field. The Army is pursuing two major robotic combat vehicle platforms simultaneously: the Robotic Combat Vehicle intended to fight alongside Stryker and Bradley vehicles, and the SMET, which is likely to accompany lighter formations.

Anduril and the U.S. arm of South Korean defense company Hanwha will also work with Forterra, formerly RRAI, to integrate the AutoDrive vehicle autonomy solution “to enable complex on- and off-road maneuvers,” the statement said.

“Combining Anduril’s electronics and software, Hanwha Defense USA’s proven hardware and Forterra’s proven off-road vehicle autonomy stack, the partnership will bring speed, agility and advanced capabilities to the dismounted infantry,” said Zach Mears, Chief Strategy Officer in Anduril. in the statement. “With a simplified user interface powered by Lattice, users will be able to quickly and easily control and control the S-MET to support lethal effects on the tactical edge.”

Lattice is Anduril’s software that was originally designed to counter drones and other threats, but has broader applicability for sharing information and data on the battlefield at the tactical level. Anduril is also working with American Rheinmetall Vehicles on the ongoing XM30 Mechanized Infantry Combat Vehicle competition to eventually replace the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, bringing Lattice’s capability to that effort as well.

The capability, Anduril states, will allow soldiers to operate the vehicle, manage payloads and communicate simultaneously in “complex environments.”

The team focuses on cargo transport, power generation capability, reduced sustainment, survivability and a modular architecture for a wide range of payloads, release details.

The robotic vehicle will have a low acoustic signature, “ensuring that it functions as an asset rather than a liability on the modern battlefield,” the statement added.

Other expected competitors are Teledyne FLIR, GDLS, Rheinmetall, joined by ST Engineering and HDT.

Teledyne FLIR announced its offering in October at the annual conference of the Association of the US Army.

The Army has kept tight-lipped details about the competition, such as the timeline for evaluating and selecting winners and what’s next, and has not released any public sector solicitations for federal contracting opportunities,

The service focuses on rigorous experimentation with robots and emerging technology to develop integrated battle formations of both humans and robots. The Army calls it “human-machine integration,” and it’s evaluating exactly how robotic technologies can be combined with the best of what humans can bring to the table on the battlefield.

Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist who covers land warfare for Defense News. He has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. He holds a master’s degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.

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