Africa Aerospace & Defense 2014

Slowly but surely [AAD142]

18 September 2014

Taking its name from the Roman legionary ‘testudo’ (‘tortoise’) formation, this rugged unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) advances over unsafe terrain on reconnaissance, mapping, surveillance or search and rescue missions.

It was officially launched yesterday at DCD Protected Mobility’s indoor stand (Hangar 2, Stand B9-15). Testudo is part of an exclusive military marketing agreement between DCD Protected Mobility and CMTI Design and Consulting Engineers.

According to DCD Protected Mobility general manager, Andrew Mears, this designed-for-military Testudo was tested in the hard rock mines of South Africa: “It is very rugged and versatile for work in the harshest environments.”

CMTI chief executive Danie Burger added that Testudo can be equipped with a variety of work tools to be customised to clients’ needs with minimal effort. “Available in remote-controlled or autonomous options, the Testudo boasts exceptional cross-country capability, thanks to its four industrial-style excavator tracks,” he said. The UGV’s four flipper tracks are individually driven by high-torque motors for a load carrying capacity of 150kg and a top speed of about 6km/h, with the ability to breach obstacles as high as 400mm. Powered by 60Ah LiFeMg PO4 batteries, it can move around for up to six hours on a single charge.

Weighing 260kg, Testudo can accommodate fairly heavy payloads, such as 3D manipulator arms to remove landmines or IEDs, or even a weapons turret. The model on display is fitted with a low-velocity 20mm gun and IR/daylight video camera.

With a height of 410mm and a track width of 172mm, it is able to manoeuvre in confined spaces.

Besides ISO-certified brakes, it has IP65 sealing certification on all electrical components to ensure superior resistance to dust and liquids.

According to Mears, Testudo is designed on a ‘plug-and-play’ philosophy. “All four flippers can be removed in minutes and replaced with a complete service exchange. For a greater degree of simplicity, we employed largely off-the-shelf components,” he said.

(313 words)