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Robotic ‘mules’ set to modernise infantry brigade combat teams


The US Army has selected General Dynamics Land Systems to produce the Small Multipurpose Equipment Transport, or S-MET, to lighten soldiers’ loads by providing Infantry Brigade Combat Teams a robotic ‘mule’. The contract valued at $162.4 million will see the production of 624 S-METs. Delivery begins in 2021.

The S-MET program aims at lightening soldiers’ loads by providing Infantry Battalions with a robotic ‘mule. Photo U.S. Army

S-MET’s basic operational capabilities include:
• Unmanned/optionally manned system;
• Ability to carry 1,000 lbs., reducing soldier weight burden by 100-plus pounds each when in support of a rifle squad;
• Operates 60-plus miles in 72 hours; and
• Generates 3 kilowatts of power (stationary) and 1 kilowatt (moving) keeping equipment and batteries charged on the move.

Dismounted infantry carry water, extra ammunition, and other equipment and gear imposing a physical burden. When fielded, S-MET will relieve soldiers and enable them to travel greater distances and carry more.

Soldier evaluation has been a critical part of the S-MET program. Photo: Jay Richards

“Thanks to tremendous teamwork across the acquisition, requirements, operational, and resource communities, this is a great modernisation success story,” said Don Sando, director for the Maneuver Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate, Fort Benning. “Key to this success was involving Soldiers early in the process to get their input and feedback during experiments and assessments.

Future capability will feature modular mission payloads tailoring the S-MET to specific mission needs, such as dismounted engineer mobility systems; remote weapon stations; casualty evacuation; and unmanned aerial systems and reconnaissance.

Posted in News


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