BALTIMORE, 22 August 2005. Northrop Grumman Corp. has been selected as the lead system integrator for unmanned ground vehicles under the U.S. Army's Family of Integrated Rapid Response Equipment (FIRRE) program.
Northrop Grumman's Remotec, Inc. subsidiary will provide its Tactical Amphibious Ground Support (TAGS) vehicle as the main unmanned ground platform to the FIRRE program.
FIRRE is intended to provide the warfighter with a variety of modular force protection equipment including unmanned air, ground and undersea platforms for sensors, weapons and support or logistics equipment.
Using unmanned platforms for tasks like perimeter security can help keep military personnel and civilians out of harm's way, while also serving as a force multiplier by allowing those troops to focus their efforts on other strategic and tactical work.
The Remotec TAGS is about the size and weight of a compact car. It can be manually controlled, but also uses differential, satellite GPS and waypoint navigation to travel autonomously between set points along a predetermined path. Autonomous guidance requires a local navigation station. The vehicle uses onboard sensors for obstacle detection.
Applied Perception, Inc., based in Pittsburgh, Pa., is the autonomous navigation system subcontractor to Northrop Grumman for TAGS. If the TAGS vehicle is unable to find the way around an obstacle, the vehicle requests manual assistance from operators at the navigation station.
"TAGS is currently being readied for use soon in Iraq to support perimeter security and other surveillance requirements of U.S. forces," said Patrick Goode, business development manager for Remotec. "This first-ever deployment of an autonomous, unmanned ground vehicle in a combat zone, will reduce the manpower requirements for each site significantly, allowing troops to focus on other missions."
The TAGS vehicles' modular design allows it to perform various missions to include target acquisition, reconnaissance, surveillance and weapons deployment, while being integrated into the current command and control structure. Each TAGS vehicle weighs 3,400 lbs. and can travel up to 25 mph with payload of 2,400 lbs.
FIRRE is directed by the Army's Program Management - Force Protection Systems unit in Ft. Belvoir, Va. The U.S. Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command is serving as technical lead for FIRRE.
Remotec, Inc., headquartered in Clinton, Tenn., with a major facility in the U.K., is a world leader in the design, development and manufacture of mobile robotic systems for use in hazardous duty operations by military organizations, law enforcement agencies, nuclear facilities and research laboratories.
Remotec is a unit of Northrop Grumman's Baltimore-based Electronic Systems sector, a world leader in the design, development, and manufacture of defense and commercial electronic systems and sensors, including airborne radar, navigation systems, electronic countermeasures, precision weapons, airspace management systems, communications systems, space sensors, marine and naval systems, government systems, and logistics services. For more information, see www.remotec-andros.com.