Textron offers Grizzly hybrid UGV for US Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport program
The nearly stealth operational mode of Textron’s Grizzly unmanned ground vehicle might meet some requirements on present and future battlefields, like hybrid buggies do for the special forces. Kelsey D. Atherton, on C4ISR, gives a glance at the machine.
The tracked Grizzly UGV is designed mainly for transportation tasks (Picture source: Textron)
The Grizzly is fundamentally a pack animal, more than a UGV designed to become a “killer robot”. It is a mule-drawn cart in function if not form, a tracked platform built to lighten the loads of the soldiers it accompanies into battle. The Grizzly is a tracked vehicle powered by a hybrid diesel-electric engine, designed to fit in the Army’s “Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport” (SMET) program.
For the SMET program, the Army wants a vehicle that can carry about 1,000 pounds worth of soldier equipment — likely lightening the loads of nine soldiers of an infantry squad. In summer 2018, the Army tested multiple robot-wagons by having them transport nine rucksacks, six boxes of MREs and four water cans, or roughly the long-range load for a unit of light infantry. Developed by Howe & Howe, the Grizzly participated in the 2018 exercise as the RS2H1. Textron acquired Howe & Howe in December 2018.
The SMET program wants the robots to be able to travel 60 miles over three days, and it must also be able to provide a spare kilowatt/hour of power while moving, and at least 3 kilowatt/hours while stationary. According to Howe & Howe, the Grizzly performed a 60-mile trek in less than half the time required.
The Army is set to makes is selections in the SMET program next month. Notice that, after years of work and tests in exercises, the U.S. Marine Corps ultimately turned down the Legged Squad Support System, a robot mule designed to carry rucksacks on the march, for being too loud in the field.