US Marine Corps is developing a robotic crawler to clear broken-wave mines

The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) is working on a robotic prototype aimed at scouring the waters for threats in a mined environment. The robot, called Crawling Remotely Operated Amphibious Breacher, or CRAB, will clear obstacles by remote control or autonomous operation and will provide a safe landing spot for troops by clearing explosives.

The robotic crawler will be deployed into the water from a littoral craft and neutralize obstacle threats, both explosive and nonexplosive, from the assault lane. “In theory, the CRAB system will breach through man-made obstacles in the surf zone,” said Capt. Anthony Molnar, Marine Corps Systems Command’s MK154 and MK155 project officer.

The team believes that unmanned robots give the Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations an efficient and effective capability to ascertain remote threats. The technology will be a catalyst in helping Marines identify hazards, defeat adversaries, and complete missions.

The Corp is awaiting the Naval Research’s approval to quickly begin a two-year process of developing a CRAB prototype.

The CRAB will support combat engineers and explosive ordnance disposal Marines by providing a remote or autonomous explosive and nonexplosive obstacle reduction capability within the very shallow water, surf zone, and the beach,said Michael Poe, team lead for MCSC. “It will enable the Marine Corps to provide assured littoral mobility to the Naval Force in support of EABO.”

The robotic crawler is important because currently, the Naval Force can only breach in the surf zone with significant risk to mission or personnel,” said Molnar. “This would alleviate that by having an inexpensive and expendable piece of equipment going through there.

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