The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has contracted US robotics manufacturer Harris to supply bomb disposal robots for the British Army.
Under a contract worth up to £55m, Harris is required to supply 56 T7 robots as part of the MoD's Project Starter.
The robots will be purchased after an initial £4m demonstration phase.
Using ‘advanced haptic feedback’, Harris T7 robots will allow operators to disarm bombs from a safe distance, protecting UK personnel.
The haptic feedback function is capable of providing operators with human-like dexterity while they operate the robot’s arm using the remote control handgrip, the MoD stated.
UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “With our rising defence budget, we are investing in the latest equipment for our armed forces to tackle the growing threats we face.
“These state-of-the-art bomb disposal robots will be powerful and reliable companions to our troops on the battlefield, keeping them safe so they can help keep us safe.”
The robots are fitted with high-definition cameras, lightning-fast datalinks, an adjustable manipulation arm and tough all-terrain treads.
All 56 robots are expected to become operational by December 2020.
British troops will also receive a new lightning-fast protection system that is currently under development by the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl).
The new ‘Icarus’ system, involving a consortium led by Leonardo, will be able to detect and defeat threats to armoured vehicles within 100ms.
Image: The British Army's new bomb disposal robot. Photo: courtesy of UK Government.