BURLINGTON, Mass., 19 Jan. 2008. The U.S. Army has accelerated its testing schedules for iRobot's Future Combat Systems (FCS)small unmanned ground vehicle (SUGV) robot development program. The updated plan calls for iRobot to deliver a total of 25 FCS SUGV robots by April 2008.
The Army Evaluation Task Force (AETF) will begin evaluation and testing of the robots in May 2008. This effort is intended to provide an early capability of SUGV to soldiers in the field.
The initial soldier evaluations will determine the capabilities and limitations of the SUGV platform. These evaluations will support the Army's production decision, which is expected in September 2008. FCS will procure a select number of these early SUGV units and then transition to the full network-capable SUGV as scheduled by the FCS program.
FCS SUGV is a tactical reconnaissance robot designed to assist soldiers in obtaining intelligence in dangerous or otherwise inaccessible areas. Modeled after the combat-proven iRobot PackBot, the SUGV offers multiple video sensors for real-time day/night tactical situational awareness.
iRobot is currently under contract agreement to develop the next-generation SUGV for the FCS program with Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC), which serves as the FCS Lead Systems Integrator with Boeing. This decision marks the first significant delivery of SUGVs to military customers.