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I/ITSEC 22: Marathon's robotic targets provide new training opportunities

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 devised new ways of using its autonomous robotic targets (ARTs) to support training, which are being employed by the US Marine Corps (USMC).

Ralph Petroff, Marathon president, North America, described the ARTs as “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 will stop and fall when hit. Groups of targets will advance and retire, using cover, according to the effectiveness of the fire against them. The use of ARTs can “improve the hit rate on moving targets from 20% to 80% in a single session”, Petroff said.

Marathon provides ARTs to the USMC under a training-as-a-service (TaaS) arrangement, currently supplying 19 trailer-borne systems to the marine corps. Each trailer is a standalone capability containing eight to ten ARTs.

At the 2022 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) in Orlando, Josh Smith, Marathon vice-president, autonomous robotic training, ground combat, NATO programmes, said that as well as using the ARTs as targets, the USMC was using them to support live-fire training where it was too dangerous to use personnel.

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