A Legged Squad Support System is loaded with Marines' gear. THE LS3 can carry 400n pounds and follow a squad through rugged terrain. (Hope Hodge Seck / Staff)
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QUANTICO, VA. — A new diesel iteration of the Legged Squad Support System, or LS3, is turning heads at the Modern Day Marine industry trade show this week. The semi-autonomous four-legged, robotic mule is designed to carry loads of up to 400 pounds and follow a squad of Marines through rugged terrain, while interacting with them intuitively.
The newest diesel variant of LS3 is slightly larger than the two previous prototypes, which have Polaris Engines. It moves more quietly. And while its load-bearing capacity is similar to the previous versions, it’s designed to be easy to fuel along with other, more traditional diesel Marine Corps vehicles.
The LS3 is making its first appearance at Modern Day Marine, said Maj. James Richardson, LCE Branch Head at the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab. But the robotic mule has a busy season ahead of it. It will visit the the Army’s Fort Devens, Mass., Nov. 4-8, where Marines will be trained in how to use it and work with it. Next summer, all three LS3 variants will travel to Hawaii to participate in the Advanced Warfighting Exercise that is part of the Rim of the Pacific 2014 exercise.