The fact that soldiers and Marines want small robots to perform reconnaissance and surveillance in battle zones - particularly urban environments where they can be used to peer into buildings and around corners - has been established.
There have been numerous urgent requirements coming from the field asking for them, and thousands of units have made their way to
But a permanent spot for the machines has not yet been engraved in stone.
Tactics, techniques and procedures for using them have been invented on the fly. The robots have all been commercial-offthe-shelf products that have performed well, but left the military with large logistics bills.
Doctrine that would allow the two ground services to formally make them standard pieces of equipment and programs of record has not been forthcoming.
"There are tasks that soldiers won't do right now without their robots," said Lt. Col.
Checkpoint security and explosive ordnance disposal are other dirty and dangerous jobs troops would rather perform with a robot, he said.
It is not as if the benefits of using robots for reconnaissance are a new idea. They were once part of the
Hatfield said the
"As everyone knows, that OCO funding is going away as we pull out of contingency operations. How do we transition those [robots] into programs of record?" Hatfield asked. Current funding streams are for bomb disposal robots only.
"With the loss of the SUGV, we don't currendy have a soldier system, but we do want to continue developing programs of record for that and do recon/surveillance, lighten the soldier load and continue to breech and clear," he said.
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