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I/ITSEC 2021: Marathon Targets reveals new autonomous robot targets

Marathon's new T50 (foreground) and T100 Autonomous Robotic Targets shown at I/ITSEC 21. The scuff marks on the armour plating of the T50 are from 6.8 mm rounds. (Giles Ebbutt)

Marathon Targets has upgraded its fleet of autonomous robot targets (ART) and showcased the updated versions at the International/Interservice Training Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) in Orlando.

Ralph Petroff, Marathon president for North America, told Janes that the ARTs are “intelligent robots that move and behave like a real enemy, to form a thinking, adaptive, and unpredictable opposing force”.

Each target moves on a four-wheeled chassis driven by an electric motor and when hit will stop and fall. Groups of targets will advance and retire, using cover, according to the effectiveness of the fire against them. Petroff said that the use of ARTs can “improve the hit rate on moving targets from 20% to 80% in a single session”.

The latest version, the T50, extends the range from the 12 miles per charge of the previous T40 model to 30 miles per charge. The target chassis is now sufficiently armoured to provide protection against 5.56 mm enhanced performance rounds as well as new 6.8 mm rounds.

Marathon has also introduced the T100, which is a vehicle target that Petroff said can achieve more than 40 kph. At I/ITSEC it was shown in the form of a pickup truck, which Petroff said had been requested by a special forces (SF) client, but he explained that other vehicle options could be represented. He said the T100 has been trialled by several potential customers including the Bundeswehr.

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