WASHINGTON — The British Army’s new explosive ordnance disposal robot has passed a series of tests ahead of the country’s effort to add more high-tech robotics into its force and a complete user trial later this year, according to a company news release.
Harris Corporation’s T7 was selected by the Ministry of Defence last year, part of a £55 million (U.S. $72 million) contract to deliver 56 robots to the ministry designed to take some of the more dangerous EOD functions away from human operators.
The tests included operating in adverse environmental and electromagnetic conditions. Harris would also like to sell the T7 to the U.S. Army for its U.S. Army’s Common Robotic System-Heavy requirement, the release said.
The company claims T7 allows operators greater dexterity when operating the mechanical arm and uses haptic feedback to precisely dial in the handling.
“Having now passed an all-encompassing battery of tests — including extreme temperatures, blowing sand and rain, humidity, vibration, and electromagnetic interference — T7 is ready to help keep service members and first responders out of harm’s way,” said Ed Zoiss, who heads Harris Electronic Systems.
The U.K. plans to have the robot fielded by 2020.
Both the U.S. and U.K. have been increasingly relying on robots to perform high-risk functions for humans. EOD has been among the communities most eager to embrace robots, driven by high casualties from improvised explosive devices during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
David B. Larter was the naval warfare reporter for Defense News.