UK has announced a £55 million contract for 56 innovative bomb disposal robots at the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) Exhibition in London Tuesday.
Following an initial £4 million demonstration phase, the robots will be purchased from US robotics manufacturer Harris under the MOD’s Project Starter for use by the British Army, and will be supported by engineers at Harris EDO MBM Technology in Brighton.
In a keynote speech, the Defence Secretary Michael Fallon outlined how the Harris T7 robots use ‘advanced haptic feedback’ to allow operators to ‘feel’ their way through the intricate process of disarming from a safe distance, protecting UK personnel from threats such as roadside bombs.
“With our rising defence budget, we are investing in the latest equipment for our Armed Forces to tackle the growing threats we face. These bomb disposal robots will be companions to our troops on the battlefield,” said Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon.
Equipped with high-definition cameras, lightning-fast datalinks, an adjustable manipulation arm and tough all-terrain treads, the robots are able to neutralise a wide range of threats.
The haptic feedback function is designed to provide operators with human-like dexterity while they operate the robot’s arm using the remote control handgrip. The unit gives the operator physical feedback, allowing intuitive detailed control.
The announcement comes after a competition between the world’s leading manufacturers, organised by the MOD, with the new fleet replacing the current Wheelbarrow Mk8b. All 56 robots are due to be delivered to the UK and in service by December 2020.