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Breaching robots to join US Army training rotation in 2024

An RRAI Small Multipurpose Equipment Transport participates in an automated breaching experiment led by the 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Liberty, North Carolina. (US Army)

The small robots of the 264th Clearance Company will participate in a training centre rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Johnson, Louisiana, in one of the earliest tests of the ground vehicles in army operations, a US army officer told Janes.

The Small Multipurpose Equipment Transport (S-MET) and the Expeditionary Modular Autonomous Vehicle (EMAV) – which will participate in the training rotation – are the service's most advanced robotic capabilities, Major Scott Rayburn, operations officer for the 20th Engineer Brigade, said. The move comes as the 18th Airborne Corps led an experiment that used those and other robotic systems to breach different obstacles in Fort Liberty, North Carolina, Maj Rayburn, who oversaw the experiment, said on 14 December.

Despite challenges in the experiment, Maj Rayburn said the engineering battalion is pushing for the ground vehicles to be assigned to the formation on a more permanent basis. “We want our soldiers to have these, and we want to take them to every training event,” he added.

After the rotation in Louisiana, the company hopes to bring the robotic systems to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, later in 2024, according to Maj Rayburn. The systems that will be taken on the road will depend on the service's fielding schedule, he said. Many of the platforms have busy schedules with experiments across the service that have to be worked around, he added. “Everybody has different ideas on how to employ them and how they want to use them,” he said.

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