ReconRobotics has introduced a new, versatile add-on to the Recon Scout Micro Robot enabling the use of the robot either as a remotely controlled sensor or static, elevated ‘Pole Cam’. The novel device enables military scouts to mount the Micro Robot on the 20 inch (0.52 m) long ‘Recon Scout Search Stick’, a quipped with actuated jaws that grasp the 1.2 pound Recon Scout micro robot.
The telescopic pole can be extended to 72 inch (1.78 m) in fully retracted mode, enabling scouts to easily see over a 12 foot (3.65 m) wall or into a second story window while maintaining protective cover. Throughout such inspections the robot transmits live video to a handheld operator control unit. The SearchStink can also be used to quietly place the robot at elevated or confined space, where it can then search the location for adversaries, IEDs or other threats. Once the inspection has been completed, the operator can use the jaws on the SearchStick to retrieve the robot.
According to Alan Bignall, president and CEO of ReconRobotics, more than 1,200 Recon Scout Micro Robots are currently operational, and the new device will provide users unique new capabilities to gaining visual access into walled compounds, rooftops, attics, ventilation systems, tunnels and crawl spaces. And because most Recon Scout robots are equipped with infrared optical systems, this visual reconnaissance can be conducted even in complete darkness. “This ‘Know Before You Go’ capability allows tactical teams to quickly and safely clear large multi-level structures before personnel enter these environments” Said Bignall.
Several branches of the U.S. military and international forces have deployed Recon Scout robots around the world, and are employed in route clearing operations, remote reconnaissance and IED inspection. Nearly 200 police and security agencies use Recon Scout robots for tactical reconnaissance, including the many police tactical teams as well as the FBI, U.S. Marshals, Border Patrol, DEA and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. When multiple robots are employed simultaneously in the same location, by different agencies, each robot operates on any of three transmitting frequencies, allowing police and military personnel to operate up to three robots in the same environment at the same time.
Under the initial $43.7 million contract awarded last week (29 July 2010) Insitu will begin the 24-month engineering, manufacturing and development phase to build and test its Integrator UAS satisfying STUAS/Tier II system requirements. Following this phase the Corps will have an option to buy up to five Integrator UAV systems in fiscal 2011 for quick deployment alongside the currently fielded ScanEagle. Such an early stage operation could expand the current operational capabilities offered by ScanEagle beang leased from Boeing. ScanEagle and Integrator could share the same launch and recovery systems. The ScanEagle UAS that recently completed 340,000 combat flight hours was also built by Insitu has been leased by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps since 2004, operated and supported in the field by civil contractors.
Gearing for the French Army next big program, vehicle manufacturers at Eurosatory were hopeful to learn about the defense ministry’s selection of the Scorpion system architect, a decision that would have set the program in motion. However, Scorpion, among other French military modernization initiatives fell prey to a 5 billion euro cut in government spending, leaving long lead programs stranded until budget is released. Eurosatory 2010 provided vehicle manufacturers an opportunity t showcase their designs but the sudden delay caused some to tone down their exposure.
Renault and Nexter have brought Scorpion-related vehicles (EBRC and VBMR) to Eurosatory, displayed ‘by invitation only’ to only a few VIPs. Nexter plans to design its offerings based on the 6×6 XP2 experimental vehicle platform, of which three different configurations are proposed to replace the AMX-10RC and VAB. The Armored Multirole Carrier (AMC) from Renault is the company’s candidate for the Scorpion program. Renault has expressed its intention to compete for all three vehicle types to be included in the Scorpion program – the EBRC, to become the armored backbone of France’s rapid intervention force, future, networked troop carrier – VBMR, and the Mine Resistant Ambush protected (MRAP) type armored utility vehicle.
Positioning itself as the leading provider for the ERBC, Panhard developed a technology demonstrator called Sphinx with internal funds, introducing an EBRC representative prototype enabling the company and the French defense establishment to study the operational functions of the EBRC. The Sphinx was the only candidate shown publicly at Eurosatory 2010. Unlike Nexter and Renault, aiming to compete for more than one platform of the Scorpion program, Panhard visions only at the EBRC, leaving the rest of the competition to other rivals.