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.