QinetiQ North America, a global developer of innovative technology solutions for national defense, announced last week that its Technology Solutions Group subsidiary Foster-Miller is releasing its new TALON® IV Engineer mine detecting, counter-IED robot for immediate use.
Featuring a longer, stronger reach, stronger grasp, and the ability to right itself, the TALON IV Engineer is designed to detect and clear mines, unexploded ordnance and dangerous improvised explosive devices (IEDs) from a safe distance. According to Dr. William Ribich, president of the Technology Solutions Group, the TALON IV Engineer is particularly well-suited to the terrain and conditions in Afghanistan. “TALON IV Engineer expands the capabilities of our warfighters to remotely clear routes, minefields or other hazardous areas and gives them the ability to see inside and around vehicles, guard rails and other barriers to help increase their overall safety.”
Detection and clearance of mines is of particular importance in Afghanistan, where efforts to deny enemy access to larger sections of territory are hampered by the large numbers of mines still littering the countryside. The United Nations and the U.S. Department of State report that an estimated 200,000 Afghans have been disabled by the explosive remnants of war (ERW).
Key features of TALON IV Engineer include a full-swivel manipulator arm combined with a seven-foot reach that makes it possible to take the portable mine detector soldiers and marines now have to carry themselves out of their hands and mount it on the robot so the search can be conducted remotely. Because the arm is longer, stronger and able to swivel, the robot can now also be used to remotely search inside dumpsters, in truck cabs and flatbeds and behind guard rails. In addition, this arm is capable of lifting 65 pounds, which means soldiers can clear heavy debris off IEDs remotely, too.
The TALON IV Engineer also introduces a new, extremely lightweight and reduced-size Operator Control Unit with touch screen, gamepad control and more versatile radio (802.11 digital, analog, COFDM digital) options for video transmission that easily permits remote dismounted operations.
Since its initial deployment in 2000, the TALON family of robots has expanded to include small, medium and large robots devoted to specific tasks, such as IED defeat, reconnaissance, hazardous materials detection, combat engineering support and SWAT/MP unit assistant. New robots introduced this year, including MAARS™ and Dragon Runner™ SUGV, address the military’s need for standoff protection from the enemy, over and above the successful use of TALON for counter-IED missions. Today, 2,500 TALON robots are deployed with the U.S. military — far surpassing any other military-use robot.
According to Dr. Ribich, the ongoing expansion of the TALON line of robots is QinetiQ North America’s response to the military’s growing desire to use robots not only for combat support, but in future combat operations as well.
For more information on this and other QinetiQ North America products, visit www.qinetiq-na.com