ONR’s Automated Weapons Assembly Project
Adding weapons to naval aircraft isn’t the simple retrieve and attach process many people think it is. For logical safety reasons, many weapons stored on board a ship require several steps to bring them from storage containers to “armed and ready” condition for installation. That process requires 500-1000 square feet of grudgingly-given space on board ship, a design constraint that still leaves some assembly operations with less room than one would like. Meanwhile, weather conditions may not choose to be cooperative.
To address this issue, the Office of Naval Research is holding a competition under the Automated Weapons Assembly Project. The goal is to create an automated robotic system that can unpack weapon components from storage containers, and safely assemble them onboard ships even in high seas.
June 25/08: Phase 1 initial design contracts are awarded to teams led by BAE Systems, General Dynamics, and QinetiQ North America.
The BAE Systems team includes Carnegie Mellon University’s famous robotics institute near Pittsburgh, PA; automated positioning systems firm PaR Systems of Shoreview, MN; and the robotic vision systems firm Braintech in Vancouver, Canada. Braintech release.
General Dynamics’ team includes its subsidiary General Dynamics Robotic Systems, the University of Texas at Austin, robotic software firm Agile Planet Inc., and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding subsidiary AMSEC LLC.
QinetiQ North America’s team includes its subsidiary Foster-Miller Inc., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Faculty Staff, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding subsidiary AMSEC LLC, and engineering consulting firm St. Onge.
- ONR, Seabasing Future Naval Capability – Automated Weapons Assembly