GORE-TEX Professional

Archive for the ‘Robotics’ Category

USSOCOM Science and Technology Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) 24.4 Release 1 Pre-Release

Friday, November 24th, 2023

The USSOCOM Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program will soon be accepting submissions for the following technology areas of interest:

SOCOM244-001: Small Unmanned Ground Robotic Systems
SOCOM244-002: Thermal Reflex Sight

The Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program stimulates a partnership of ideas and technologies between innovative SBCs and non-profit Research Institutions. By providing awards to SBCs for cooperative R/R&D efforts with Research Institutions, the SBIR and STTR programs assist the U.S. small business and research communities by supporting the commercialization of innovative technologies.

On 28 November, SOFWERX will host a virtual Q&A session for the area of interest. RSVP to the Q&A session on the event webpage.

Submissions Open 05 December 2023.


Milipol 23 – EXOM EXO-Skeleton

Thursday, November 16th, 2023

EXOM is a joint project between Mehler System and Mawishi which wishes to make good on the aspirations of USSOCOM’s so-called “Iron Man Suit” which world to beat the weight of heavy, full-body armor for breachers and the first man through the door.

They are doing this by using the Mawishi UPRISE exoskeleton to help bear the weight and reduce fatigue, combined with Mehler’s expertise in body armor and helmets.

Milipol 23 – CAM-Shield from BCB International

Tuesday, November 14th, 2023

This is a very interesting international solution. British firm BCB International Ltd developed a multi-spectral camouflage appliqué for the distributor MP-Sec France to fit US-built Vision 60 Quadraped Unmanned Ground Vehicles from Ghost Robotics.

The fabric-based system is easy to apply and remove and offers camouflage in the visual, NIR, SWIR, and LWIR ranges. BCB offers CAM-Shield in a variety of visual patterns for a number of ground-based systems.

LEON and the Corps’ Robotic Revolution in the Global Littorals

Monday, November 13th, 2023

Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. —

As the Marine Corps prepares to take the fight to the global littorals, Marine Corps Systems Command’s Program Manager for Explosive Hazard Defeat’s Littoral Explosive Ordnance Neutralization—LEON–integrated product team is working on fielding a family of systems to strengthen Marine Corps mine warfare capabilities. 

Designed to address the concerns outlined in the Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment guidance, these systems fortify Marines’ mine warfare capabilities as the Corps continues with the strategic modernization outlined in former Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. David H. Berger’s seminal Force Design guidance.

The LEON family of systems encompasses various capabilities, among which the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Remotely Operated Vehicle—or ROV—stands out as an integral component. This innovative amphibious, unmanned robot system is specifically designed to detect, locate, reacquire, mark to avoid, render safe/neutralize, recover, exploit, and dispose of underwater explosive threats in the very shallow water, surf zone, beach zone and littoral transition points.

This bleeding-edge robotic technology—along with its integrated family of capabilities—strives to secure safe maneuverability for Marines within the littoral regions, extending support to the explosive ordnance disposal community and enhancing the overall service proficiency.

According to Product Manager for Explosive Hazard Defeat Rick Daley, LEON is a tool which will allow the support of ship-to-shore and shore-to-ship lane clearing operations more safely and effectively. 

“If we aim to conduct operations as part of a MAGTF or drug task force, it necessitates a World War II style island-hopping campaign, requiring safe access to the islands. Our adversaries will be trying to stop us, though. With the advent of the LEON initiative, the strategy shifts to ‘tech to avoid’—identifying safe lanes through minefields and enabling forces to securely land on the beaches,” he said.

This innovative new system ultimately aligns with Force Design’s modernization guidance, which calls on the Corps to, “acknowledge the impacts of proliferated precision long-range fires, mines, and other smart weapons, and seek innovative ways to overcome these threat capabilities.”

The LEON team has certainly taken the call to innovate seriously. A notable facet of the team’s strength is its proactive stance towards embracing emergent technologies, thereby fostering state-of-the-art solutions tailored for the complexities of 21st-century naval warfare.

This forward-thinking approach not only underscores their commitment to enhancing maritime operational efficacy but also positions them at the vanguard of navigating the multifaceted challenges inherent in contemporary littoral combat scenarios.

According to Daley, “It’s imperative to note that unlike many unmanned capabilities, such as drones, our systems operate fully submerged. Until the acoustic communications are fully online, direct communication isn’t necessarily possible. Therefore, there’s a need for either pre-programming or having advanced software programming to enable complete autonomous operation. This allows the system to execute the required tasks and then return to a recoverable location, which is crucial. Without such measures, we’re merely deploying assets with the hope that they fulfill the intended objectives.”

 “If we aim to conduct operations as part of a MAGTF or drug task force, it necessitates a World War II style island-hopping campaign, requiring safe access to the islands. Our adversaries will be trying to stop us, though. With the advent of the LEON initiative, the strategy shifts to ‘tech to avoid’—identifying safe lanes through minefields and enabling forces to securely land on the beaches,” 

-Rick Daley, Product Manager for Explosive Hazard Defeat

One of the ways that the LEON team has been able to gain so much success here is through the fostering of untraditional partnerships across the Corps’ – with a special focus on direct feedback from the fleet. According to Ronald Diefenbach, LEON project officer, this has made all of the difference.

He noted, “Our collaboration with [Naval Information Warfare Center] Pacific has been pivotal in refining our platforms. Furthermore, we had the advantage of having a Marine from I Marine Expeditionary Force, I MEF, embedded with NIWC Pacific from the program’s outset, providing real-time feedback during the development process. This setup significantly bridged any communication gap, ensuring our technological advancements are aligned with practical operational needs from the very beginning of the development stage.”

Similarly, Diefenbach noted how always picking the right contract vehicle for specific parts of the project helps save time—and ultimately—taxpayer dollars. And with the LEON team moving so quickly, the future of the program certainly looks bright.

This was exemplified in a 2021 exercise when Marines from I and III MEF conducted a littoral mobility exercise, showcasing how this bleeding-edge tech can be utilized in joint-force operations with the Navy.

The collaboration between the 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3d Marine Logistics Group, 7th ESB, 1st MLG and U.S. Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 1 ultimately demonstrated the seamless integration of diverse capabilities to establish secure beachheads for amphibious operations.

The exercise highlighted the pivotal role of integrated capabilities in supporting naval maneuver, aligning with the tenets of Force Design 2030 to enhance real-time situational awareness and expedite decision-making in amphibious environments.

At the time, 1st Lt. Brandon Cavil, who then served as Littoral Engineer Reconnaissance Team officer in charge, noted the “exercise was all about honing the Marine Corps’ interoperability with the Navy, specifically addressing where we can provide redundant and complementary capabilities.”

Ultimately, the success of the LEON team is a testament to the foresight of the 2017 Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment document and underscores the growing importance of naval mine warfare as the Corps continues its strategic shift towards the Indo-Pacific.

This important advance in maritime technology has not gone unnoticed. In recognition for their efforts, the LEON Integrated Product Team received the Department of the Navy’s 2023 Ron Kiss Maritime Technology Transition Award, which honors outstanding achievement in the defense acquisition community for successfully transitioning a technology into a program of record or operational use.

By transcending traditional paradigms and fostering a culture of innovation and adaptability, Product Manager Explosive Hazard Defeat is not only responding to the shifting needs of the modern battlefield—it’s actively influencing the future of naval warfare. As the Marine Corps continues its strategic shift to the Indo-Pacific– guided by Force Design– the robotic technology that is being developed by the LEON team will play a vital role in navigating the dynamic and complex global littorals—ensuring the warfighter is prepared to fight and win when duty calls.

By Johannes Schmidt, Marine Corps Systems Command Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command

Milrem Robotics Presents a New Combat UGV

Wednesday, November 1st, 2023

Milrem Robotics, Europe’s leading robotics and autonomous systems developer, presents a new combat UGV. The new system is the combination of Milrem Robotics’ intelligent THeMIS Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) and HITROLE® Light Remote Weapon Station (RWS), one of the land turrets developed by Leonardo, a leading global Aerospace, Defence and Security company.

THeMIS Combat UGV’s provide direct fire support for manoeuvre units and act as a force multiplier. With the HITROLE® Light RWS which can be fitted with a 7,62 mm or a 12,7 mm Machine Gun or a 40 mm Automatic Grenade Launcher and is assisted by AI functions for target acquisition, recognition prioritization and tracking, they provide the capability to perform multi-role tasks like surveillance, patrolling, border security, counter-sniper and asymmetric missions. Engagement of the target is always done by a human operator.

THeMIS Combat UGVs enhance force protection and increase stand-off distance by allowing the operator to utilize the weapon system and observe, day and night from a protected position.

The HITROLE® Light RWS is a multi-role ultra-lightweight turret of which more than 300 units are in service worldwide.

“The THeMIS has proven to be the most popular and suitable robotic mobility platform for RWS integrations. Our cooperation with Leonardo and the integration of HITROLE® represent the next crucial steps in this journey. Together with Leonardo, we can offer a highly capable robotic combat system to the Italian Army and customers worldwide. This will significantly enhance warfighting capabilities and, even more importantly, contribute to troop safety,” said Kuldar Väärsi, CEO of Milrem Robotics.

The THeMIS UGV is a multi-role unmanned system that is part of robotics programs in various configurations in 16 countries around the world, including 8 members of NATO.

Milrem Robotics is the leading European robotics and autonomous systems developer and systems integrator, with offices in Estonia, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, and the US. The company is known for their THeMIS and Multiscope UGVs, the Type-X Robotic Combat Vehicle and MIFIK.

US Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center Selects Persistent Systems for 10X Robotics/AI Program

Friday, October 27th, 2023

October 25, 2023

Manned-unmanned teaming effort follows prior 10X in which company provided critical network

Persistent Systems, LLC (“Persistent”), a leader in mobile ad hoc networking (MANET) technology, was one of eight organizations selected by the National Advanced Mobility Consortium (NAMC) to support them in the execution of the U.S. Army Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) Task Request 22 Robotics and Artificial Intelligence 10X Dismounted Infantry Platoon, a program set to end in a technology demonstration in September 2024, in Fort Moore, Ga.

Managed by NAMC, this 10X program aims to make Army infantry platoons 10 times more effective through the testing of select unmanned vehicles and other systems in a simulated urban environment—with Persistent Systems providing the data-agnostic, high-throughput IP communications backbone.

“We are very excited to, once again, be supporting 10X,” said Jeffrey Washington, Director for Business Development, U.S. Army/UGVs, at Persistent Systems. “We see our selection by the GVSC’s Dismounted Robotic Systems branch as a vote of confidence in the communications and support work we did during the previous 10X effort, which wrapped up with a demonstration in September 2022.”

During that prior effort, which had forces employ a mix of unmanned systems and other technology to cross an open area, the Persistent Systems Wave Relay® MANET established vital command-and-control links, while the company’s Cloud Relay™ beyond-line-of-sight capability helped developers remotely address software issues on third party platforms.

This time around, there will be even more equipment to network and an urban environment to consider. Still, company officials say they’re up for the job.  “Our MANET is self-forming, self-healing, and highly scalable,” said Washington. “We’ve worked with a wide range of platform partners, and in the past, we have scaled up our network to link hundreds of nodes.”

AUSA 23 – SIG Showcases Robotic Systems

Tuesday, October 10th, 2023

Producer of the US Army’s Modular Handgun System and Next Generation Weapons SIG SAUER displayed their new robotic systems at the AUSA Annual Meeting this week.

The system consists of three main components: Mule robot, Pitbull Remote Weapon Station, and NG3 Mingun Gatling Gun.

Chambered in 338 Norma Mag, the NG3 Minigun Gatling Gun is from Stone Horse, LLC, a Richmond-based manufacturer. It features four rotating barrels and offers a 2000 rounds-per-minute rate of fire. However, this can be tuned to avoid certain frequencies for aviation applications. The MG3 weighs in at 50 lbs with electrical box.

The Mule and Pitbull are products of General Robotics which was purchased last year by SIG SAUER. We’ve seen Pitbull in the past, which debuted with SIG during the defense products demonstration at this year’s SHOT Show range.

Pitbull weights 85 kg dry and can be configured with a wide variety of weapons and mounted to vehicles, robots and even in static applications as well as on a tripod.

This is the first time we have seen Mule. Equipped with band tracks, it weights 100 lbs with batteries and can be remotely operated or programmed to transit a predetermined route. Additional equipment is available to provide the Mule autonomous capability to assess and negotiate terrain.

SIG’s booth had a couple of other Easter eggs like this pistol equipped quadcopter also from their General Robotics division.

Editor’s Note: I called the Next Generation 3 a “Minigun” because that’s technically what it is, but the M134 is commonly known as a Minigun and this isn’t an M134.


NDIA Future Forces Conference 23 Poster #12 – Acoustic & Visual Stealth for Robotic Snipers

Monday, October 9th, 2023

Robotics and in particular developing weapons for unmanned systems has become a focus of DoD. This poster was presented during NDIA’s recent Future Forces Capabilities Conference in Huntsville.

Contact info is on the poster for those interested.