XM1216 Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV), United States of America
The XM1216 is a lightweight, man portable Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV) manufactured by iRobot. The SUGV can be used in military operations conducted in urban environments, tunnels, culverts and caves.
The SUGV is deployed for Early Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) fielding. It is currently being evaluated by the Army Evaluation Task Force (AETF). The XM1216 SUGVs were successfully deployed in operation by the 3rd Brigade, 1st Armoured Division.
In February 2012, the US Army awarded a sole-source contract to iRobot for developing, supporting and testing hardware and software for the XM1216 SUGV system. The SUGV will enter service with all US Army brigade combat teams (BCTs) by 2025. It will also become part of future incremental SUGV fielding when equipped with additional sensor capabilities. The US Army BCT modernisation programme is implemented in association with Army force generation model (ARFORGEN).
The XM1216 SUGV assists the armed forces to perform urban Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions. It will also allow the soldiers to conduct chemical/Toxic Industrial Chemical (TIC) and Toxic Industrial Materials (TIM) reconnaissance missions.
Design features of XM1216 SUGV
The XM1216 has a length of 76.1cm with flippers extended, width of 43.7cm, and a height of 66cm when fully extended. The empty weight of the vehicle without payloads is 14.5kg.
The vehicle incorporates a modular design allowing multiple payloads to be integrated in a plug-and-play architecture. It minimises the risk of soldiers' exposure directly to hazards, and provides intelligence, information and increased situational awareness at the squad level.
Northrop Grumman and Bell Helicopter launched a new medium-range, vertical unmanned aerial system (VUAS) in May 2010 for warfare in the US.
The XM1216 weighs 34.4lb (15.6kg). It carries day/night/thermal cameras, a laser range finder, an infra-red (IR) illuminator, a global positioning system (GPS), two-way speakers and microphone, and a hand held controller. The chassis camera is used for driving and stair climbing purposes. The thermal camera can capture monochrome images during night and in conditions such as smoke, fog and battlefield blot-outs. The laser range finder has a range of 1km.
The SUGV can accept optional sensors and payloads including a manipulator arm. The optional manipulator is fitted with a gripper and a wide angle, fixed focus camera providing a 100° field of view. It can lift a maximum weight of 6.8kg. The downrange communication is provided by two-way audio.
The XM1216 E1 is equipped with a militarised EO/IR sensor head. It helps to recognise the targets located at a maximum distance of 300m. The improved XM1216 E1 can carry wide range of equipment including a tether/spooler and tactical engagement simulator.
Operation and control
The XM1216 system can be remotely operated by the Microsoft Xbox 360 gamepad with the help of speciality drivers for ensuring the full control of the system. The SUGV can be alternatively controlled by Small HaWC (HArm's Way Controller), replacing the Xbox 360 controller in combat environments.
The basic wearable controller weighing 2.7kg features Tac-Eye heads-up display. The advanced wearable controller is equipped with noise reducing head set. The controllers are provided with optional equipment such as 5.6 inch LCD screen and joystick-style control.
Power and mobility
The SUGV is powered by two BB-2590/U batteries allowing more than six hours of operation. The batteries can be installed and dismounted without using tools. They can be charged by a single-station low rate/medium rate battery charger; BB-2590/U Dual, High Rate Battery Charger; and BB-2590/U, 8 Bay, High Rate Battery Charger.
The SUGV can travel at speeds of up to 10km/h. It can climb stairs of ten inches height and vertical obstacles of 12 inches. It is capable of fording six inches of water. The SUGV can be carried within a single MOLLE or ALICE pack.
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