BURLINGTON, Mass., 15 June 2007. iRobot Corp. has been selected by Lockheed Martin, the provider of the centralized controller device for the U.S. Army's Future Combat Systems (FCS) program, to be a key supplier of design and development for the project's controls and display through its estimated delivery in 2015.
Managed by the Lead Systems Integrator team of Boeing and partner Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), the FCS development contract represents the Army's premier modernization program, comprising a family of sensors, air systems, and both manned and unmanned ground systems, all of which are networked to provide soldiers with enhanced situational awareness and survivability.
The Centralized Controller is a handheld device that will allow an individual soldier to remotely control or query the systems in an FCS brigade -- from a Class I Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to an unmanned ground system. Traditionally, this would require numerous disparate controllers and multiple personnel to manage. With FCS, all the systems will be networked and able to be controlled by a central device.
iRobot's role will be to develop controls and display designs for the Centralized Controller. The company was selected in part due to its expertise in developing robots based on the ever-changing needs of soldiers in the field.
"The Centralized Controller puts the power of FCS into the palm of our soldiers' hands," said Vice Admiral Joe Dyer (U.S. Navy, Ret.), president of iRobot Government & Industrial Robots. "FCS is transforming the Army into a faster, smarter fighting force, and we are proud to contribute our direct in-theater experience to the project."
A lead partner on the Army's groundbreaking FCS program, iRobot also is developing the SUGV, which is based upon the combat-proven iRobot PackBot® platform, to meet the needs of 21st-century warfighters. The company also is building PackBot robots to meet current orders of $66 million for the Naval Sea Systems Command's Man Transportable Robotic System (MTRS) program.
To date, iRobot has delivered more than 1,000 PackBot robots to a broad range of military and civilian customers worldwide. The iRobot PackBot is used to detect and defuse road-side bombs, known as Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), while keeping soldiers out of harm's way. The robots have performed tens of thousands of missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and are credited with saving soldiers' lives.