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Date: Dec 02, 2004


Soldier affixing fuze  


     The Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) here and its technology partner Foster-Miller Inc. of Waltham, Mass. are jointly developing a new weapon system that could revolutionize some combat operations.

     Dubbed SWORDS, the system consists of a Talon mobile robotic platform on which one of several possible unmanned armament systems is mounted.

     The system recently was named one of the most amazing inventions of 2004 by Time Magazine

     The armed robot can be controlled remotely by Soldiers from a distance over 1000 meters away.

     The ARDEC/Foster-Miller team first demonstrated the system in July 2003.

     Five Soldiers from ARDEC's Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Unit participated in a demonstration that highlighted the capabilities of armed, unmanned ground vehicles in tactical operations.

     The individual weapons -- an M202 light-anti-tank weapon with four 66mm rockets, a 6-barrel 40mm grenade launcher or a small arms weapon – and a telepresent rapid aiming and pointing system are integrated individually with Foster-Miller’s Talon robotic platform.

     In addition, the robot has a versatile jointed arm for attaching and aiming weapons.

     The Talon platform already is in use by Army EOD units.

     The robots employ a "man in the loop" where they are always under direct control of a Soldier.

     A Soldier issues commands to the robot and weapons through an operator control unit.

     Commands to rocket and grenade launchers are communicated through a newly developed remote firing and control system. The remote firing and control system allows a single soldier to control up to five separate firing systems using a 40-bit encryption security system.

     Adding to the overall safety and performance of the system, engineers here at Picatinny have rigorously tested the SWORDS system by exposing it to a myriad of intense testing environments.

     The Army is currently building these robots for deployment to Iraq.