Remotec Wins Britain’s CUTLASS EOD Robot Competition
Following a recent settlement that saw British forces receive 30 iRobot Packbots, Northrop Grumman subsidiary Remotec UK Ltd. has been appointed prime contractor for Phase II of the Ministry of Defence’s CUTLASS program to field the next generation of robots for explosive ordnance disposal (EOD). These vehicles will be be used by the MoD for anti-terrorism operations worldwide, as well as EOD operations at home that have featured 120mm shells as doorstops and mortars in wardrobes. The contract’s value is about GBP 65 million (currently about $128 million), and the MoD release fixes the number of robots at 80. The bulk of deliveries will take place in 2010, with a phased introduction into service thereafter.
Partners in the CUTLASS program include QinetiQ (user-friendly operator command console, they also own TALON robot maker Foster-Miller) and LSC Group (logistics support effort, risk management and tracking activities). Remotec is a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman with locations in Coventry, UK and Clinton, TN, USA.
The CUTLASS will be the primary replacement for Remotec’s “Wheelbarrow” design that has been in use in Northern Ireland since the 1970s. It offers the latest technology in a modular design, making it capable of accommodating a wide range of payloads, sensors and tools. The manipulator arm is equipped with a state-of-the-art gripper and has 9 degrees of freedom for greater movement and agility inside limited spaces, such as the interior of a car. The robot can either creep along at deliberately slow speeds for delicate operations, or accelerate to high speeds to enable rapid travel. The six-wheeled design offers mobility on all types of hard and soft terrain and in all weather conditions. See Northrop Grumman/ Remotec release | UK MoD release.