UNMANNED

Army chooses QinetiQ NA to build small unmanned ground robot

QinetiQ North America has won an initial $152 million contract to build a new small unmanned ground vehicle for the Army that is one of the first UGV programs of record for the service branch.

A Thursday statement from QNA’s U.K.-based parent company QinetiQ Group confirmed the selection for the Common Robotic System-Individual program. Main industry rival Endeavor Robotics was the other competitor for CRS-I.

First reported by Defense News, the contract has an initial value of $152 million and could grow to $400 million with follow-on awards and options to acquire up to 3,000 robots.

The Army sought a 25-pound robot that can be remotely operated with a universal controller, plus be mobile so a dismounted soldier can carry it in a backpack.

CRS-I and other procurements like it are a fundamental shift in the U.S. military’s approach to acquiring unmanned ground robots. Whereas the Iraq and Afghanistan war period saw more rapid buys to field them quickly, the Defense Department and Army in particular are shifting to longer-term programs of record that factor in the entire acquisition lifecycle not unlike other large defense programs.

Recently-acquired by FLIR Systems, Endeavor has won one of those other programs of record in the $158.5 million Man Transportable Robotic System Increment 2 contract for medium-weight, remotely-operated systems.

About the Author

Ross Wilkers is a senior staff writer for Washington Technology. He can be reached at rwilkers@washingtontechnology.com. Follow him on Twitter: @rosswilkers. Also find and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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