ANKARA — The anti-explosive robot Kaplan, developed by Turkey’s biggest defense firm, Aselsan, was recently tested in the US for interoperability with similar devices in the US and other NATO armies.
An Aselsan source said that during an exercise earlier this month, the Kaplan successfully scanned Fort Benning’s McKenna Urban Operations Complex and located an explosive device that was examined by a Talon robot built in the United States.
He said the exercise aimed at assessing the interoperability of robots built in the US and other NATO member states to design future unmanned ground vehicle systems and controllers.
After using unmanned systems over the last 10 years in Iraq and Afghanistan to help locate improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the US Army’s Maneuver Battle Lab is looking at the possibility of operating NATO equipment on the battlefield as the next step to expand the use of robots.
The official said the Kaplan was used as a point man to scan the area with sensors for possible threats. Once the threat was determined, the US-made Talon, equipped with a retractable arm, was brought in to counter the threat.
The official also said the Kaplan could be used to go over a hill and check for threats. The Kaplan can extend the sensor range of a soldier or go over the horizon to check for threats.
The Kaplan has the ability to examine a suspicious object at a distance of 500 meters. Furthermore, the robot is able to carry out works in the temperature range from 30 degrees below zero up to 69 degrees Celsius. The bomb disposal robot can also travel 15 kilometers without replacing its batteries.