US Army and Air Force to develop laser-equipped MRAP vehicle

22 June 2015 (Last Updated June 22nd, 2015 18:30)

The US Army is working with the US Air Force (USAF) to develop laser technology-equipped mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles.

RABDO

The US Army is working with the US Air Force (USAF) to develop laser technology-equipped mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicles.

The Recovery of Airbase Denied by Ordinance (RADBO) prototype is being developed by the Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC), Prototype Integration Facility (PIF), the Air Force Air Combat Command, and the Redstone Test Center.

RADBO prototype contains a laser, interrogator arm, console and other features, and is being integrated into the Category I Cougar MRAP.

The prototype's laser was developed by the USAF, and can detonate bombs up to 300m away, while the army-created integrated interrogator arm and manipulator claw can pull 50lb of debris up from cracks and underneath rubble.

Additionally, infrared cameras, driver vehicle-enhanced capabilities and two alternators were installed to provide more than 1,100amp of power.

The lasers are expected to help operators negate the threat of improvised explosive devices (IED), makeshift bombs, mines, and other unexploded explosive ordnance from a safe distance.

"Currently, if a runway gets hit it can take days to weeks to get cleared. With the RADBO, runways can be cleared and operational at a much quicker pace."

Tyndall Air Force Base explosive disposal modernisation programme manager Marshall Dutton said: "We may see hundreds to thousands of small unexploded ordnance items on a runaway or airfield but the RADBO will allow us to reduce the time it takes to get an airfield operational.

"Currently, if a runway gets hit it can take days to weeks to get cleared. With the RADBO, runways can be cleared and operational at a much quicker pace."

RADBO has the ability for immediate range clearance, enabling fighter pilots to use the range soon after the completion of a live-ordnance drop training exercise, saving lives on the battlefield.

The prototype is currently undergoing munitions testing, as well as hot and cold storage, and electromagnetic interference.

Developmental testing is scheduled to conclude in July at RTC, but additional trials will continue with airmen on Tyndall Air Force Base in September.

Dutton said: "We anticipate producing 14 more RADBO after the developmental testing phase to support the AFCENT command. We look forward to partnering with the PIF in the future."


Image: A RADBO vehicle, containing a laser, interrogator army and manipulator claw. Photo: courtesy of US Army.