UDI wins robotic technology work

United Defense Industries Inc. won a $30.9 million contract from the Army to develop and integrate robotic technologies for armed vehicles, the company said today.

The Armed RoboticVehicle Robotics Technology Science and Technology Objective contract was awarded by the Army's Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command. United Defense's ground systems division in Santa Clara, Calif., will do the work, which involves integrating unmanned platform technologies from Army and commercial developments into a Future Combat Systems Armed Robotic Vehicle platform. The company also will support the testing of these systems during demonstrations.

The contract includes delivery of an ARV Robotics Technology vehicle demonstration platform that is autonomously controlled and features reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition sensors. Weapons systems, security systems, advanced tactical behaviors software and a diagnostic/prognostic technology will be integrated in the demonstrator.

Testing is scheduled for September 2006 and March 2008. United Defense also will deliver an ARV Robotics Technology simulation and integration laboratory at the end of the second experiment.

The subcontractors on the project are General Dynamics Corp.'s robotic systems division and Omnitech Robotics International LLC.

In September 2003, United Defense designed and developed two armed robotic vehicles for the Future Combat Systems project to reduce soldiers' exposure in highly vulnerable reconnaissance and assault missions. In February, the Defense Department's Joint Program Office for Robotic Systems selected United Defense and Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotic Engineering Consortium to develop Gladiator tactical unmanned ground vehicles for the Marine Corps. Gladiators are unmanned ground vehicles used for remote combat tasks.

Based in Arlington, Va., United Defense develops combat vehicles, weapons delivery systems and amphibious assault vehicles for the U.S. Defense Department. The company employs 7,700 workers and had almost $2.3 billion in 2004 revenue.

BAE Systems North America Inc. of Rockville, Md., is planning to purchase United Defense once regulatory hurdles are cleared.

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