Troop surge for Army robot force

The Army has awarded a $286 million indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract to iRobot for up to 3,000 military robots, spare parts, training and repair services over the next five years.

The U.S. Army's Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation awarded the xBot contract to iRobot on behalf of the Robotic Systems Joint Project Office at Redstone Arsenal, Ala.

The vendor's winning xBot prototype robot is based on its iRobot PackBot military robot platform, and the robots it will provide under the current contract will be called the iRobot PackBot 510 with FasTac Kit, which are smaller and lighter than its iRobot PackBot 510 unit. The robots with the FasTac Kit also have a robust gripper and an observation mast equipped with a low-light-capable zoom camera, the vendor said.

With the contract award, the Army plans to issue robots in larger numbers to its general infantry. According to iRobot, it will immediately begin delivery of the contract's first 101 robots for deployment in urgent situations.

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