The US Army has awarded a contract to robot manufacturer iRobot for the delivery of 14 iRobot PackBot 510, to aid in bomb disposal in Afghhanistan.

The PackBot 510 with FasTac Kit is a lightweight alternative to bomb-disposal robots used by marines in afghanistan and Iraq.

PackBot enables soldiers to safely investigate areas and suspicious objects using the manipulator arms, onboard cameras and other sensors before sending the information gathered back to the operator through a ruggedised laptop.

iRobot Government and Industrial Robots president Joe Dyer said that the robots are important as they can perform the role of point man on the battlefield.

“Warfighters can send the robot into a potentially dangerous area first. Thisgives them the opportunity to assess the situation from a safe place and allowsmore time to make decisions accordingly,” Dyer said.

“This is particularly important as thethreat from roadside bombs continues to rise in Afghanistan.”

The $5.1m contract, which also covers spare parts, is the 11th order under the $286m xBot contract taking the total value up to $86m.