Northrop Grumman nets potential half-billion-dollar contract to build open-systems ground robots
INDIAN HEAD, Md., 3 Sept. 2015. U.S. Navy bomb-disposal experts are awarding a nearly half-billion-dollar contract to Northrop Grumman Corp. to build an open-systems man-packable ground robot to help infantry units detect and neutralize improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other roadside bombs.
Officials of the Naval Surface Warfare Center's Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division in Indian Head, Md., announced a $14.2 million contract to Northrop Grumman in Falls Church, Va., this week for the Advanced Explosive Ordnance Disposal Robotic System (AEODRS) Increment 1, dismounted operations variant.
The contract calls for Northrop Grumman experts to procure and integrate the AEODRS handheld operator control unit, communications link, mobility capability module, master capability module, power capability module, manipulator capability module, end effector capability module, visual sensors capability module, autonomous behaviors capability module, and other minor components that comprise the dismounted operations system.
The contract for the bomb-hunting unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) includes options that could increase its value to $483.3 million.
The dismounted AEODRS variant is to be a 35-pound system and fit in an infantryman's backpack. The variant is to have a six-hour battery life, 330-foot range, and manipulator arm able to lift five pounds at full extension.
The dismounted ordnance-disposal system is to be an open-systems design able to accommodate payloads and modules from several different vendors, rather than an integrated system manufactured only by one company. Navy officials want interchangeable parts.
Experts want the AEODRS dismounted version to be able to navigate autonomously for about 10 feet in an unobstructed. Early prototypes have had seven interchangeable modules like power source, vision sensors, manipulator arm, autonomy software, and communications to link the robot with its remote controller.
On this contract Northrop Grumman will do the work in Huntsville, Ala., and should be finished by August 2017. For more information contact Northrop Grumman online at www.northropgrumman.com, or the Naval Surface Warfare Center-Indian Head at www.navsea.navy.mil/Home/WarfareCenters/NSWCIndianHeadEODTechnology.