WASHINGTON — Sarcos Defense has received a $1 million contract from U.S. Army Applications Laboratory to test a robotic arm meant for integration onto the service’s self-propelled howitzers, the American company announced Thursday.

A subsidiary of Sarcos Robotics and Technology, Sarcos Defense will perform tests on the robotic system with the aim of meeting Army requirement, according to the news release. Tests are to involve shock and vibration absorption as well as the technology’s ability to withstand the elements.

“Our ultimate goal with the development of this robotic ammunition solution is to help the Army successfully accomplish their missions with lower rates of injury by having a robot lift and place the heavy ammunition rounds,” Reeg Allen, vice president of business development, said in the release. “We are excited about this accelerated testing that will help get this robotic system into the hands of Army personnel soon.”

The robotic arm was meant to alleviate issues caused by prolong and repetitive lifting of 100-pound rounds of ammunition into the cannon loader, while also mitigating risks to soldiers.

The Army has worked to increase the firing capacity of its cannons over the last several years. In August 2020, the service announced is was seeking small business innovators to increase the rate of fire for its self-propelled howitzers.

By April 2021, the service told Defense News it had picked five small businesses to build prototypes to address increased rates of fire. This project, dubbed SPARTN Fire Faster, was one of three engaged to increase the rate of fire for howitzers.

Zamone “Z” Perez is a reporter at Military Times. He previously worked at Foreign Policy and Ufahamu Africa. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, where he researched international ethics and atrocity prevention in his thesis. He can be found on Twitter @zamoneperez.

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