The U.S. Army will soon have a new fleet of explosive ordinance disposal (EOD) robots. The American company Endeavor Robotics Inc, under a contract for $109 million, will supply the United States Army 350 FLIR Kobra multi-functional engineer robots under the Common Robotic System – Heavy, or CRS-H, (pronounced “Chris-H”) program. Deliveries should begin in the third quarter of the fiscal year 2020.
In total, taking into account the proposed additional purchase, the U.S. Army plans to purchase 248-strong robots. Choosing a FLIR Kobra System Developed by Endeavor Robotics Inc. (owned by FLIR Systems Corporation) was carried out according to the results of two stages of comparative testing of three samples from different manufacturers.
CRS-H is a treaded robot designed to detect, identify, access, render safe, exploit, and achieve final disposition of heavy explosive ordnance, including Improvised Explosive Devices, Vehicle Borne IEDs, and Weapons of Mass Destruction at a safe standoff.
According to U.S. Army blog, the multi-functional CRS-H robot can run for around 7 hours, move at about 6 MPH, clear 32-inch obstacles. It weighs around 700 lbs and 1,000 lbs when fully loaded (including 300 lbs of non-native payloads). It is equipped with several high-definition cameras, a manipulator, and a remote radio control system with the claimed enhanced cyber protection and anti-jamming.
“We develop equipment for Soldiers to use in demanding situations, and there is no substitute for their perspective in operating the system – their input is of utmost value,” Maj. James Alfaro, chief EOD capability developer, Sustainment Capability Development and Integration Directorate at Fort Leonard Wood, said in a release.
CRS-H bomb disposal robots will undergo further testing to obtain a Safety Confirmation and Operational Test Agency Evaluation Report to allow for immediate fielding to EOD Teams.