The first increment in the Navy’s Advanced Explosive Ordnance Disposal Robotic System (AEODRS) passed its Critical Design Review (CDR) and is going into low-rate initial production, Northrop Grumman announced.
The Increment 1 system, produced by Northrop Grumman, is the smallest of three proposed robotic systems to help Navy and Marine Corps EOD technicians find, identify and disable improvised explosive devises and other threats while the operator remains at a safe distance.
Increment 1, called the man-portable or “back-packable” version, will be used for dismounted operations. It is a remotely controlled compact tracked vehicle with cameras and a manipulator arm, and it weighs less than 35 pounds, including the handheld operator control unit and communications link.
“The CDR provided an in-depth assessment, by a government team of experts, managers and Navy and Marine Corps users, that the final design for the AEODRS dismounted operations variant is programmatically and technically realistic and achievable,” according to a company statement last week.
“The successful review determined the detailed design satisfies cost, schedule and mission performance requirements and demonstrates the maturity for proceeding with system fabrication, assembly, integration and test.”
The successful CDR “clearly shows the commitment of the Navy and Northrop Grumman team to fill this key gap for EOD robotic operations,” Dan Verwiel, vice president and general manager for missile defense and protective systems division at Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, said in the statement.
With the CDR approval June 7, the company entered the low-rate initial production phase and will deliver four units and a spare, a spokeswoman said.
The AEODRS program, managed by Naval Sea Systems Command, began as a joint program to develop a family of EOD robotic systems in three sizes, with as much commonality as possible. But the Air Force and later the Army dropped out of the joint effort and are acquiring commercially available systems for their EOD operators.
The Navy is continuing its development efforts for the other two increments: a mid-size robot weighing less than 165 pounds that will have a robotic arm able to disarm an explosive device, and a 750-pound unit with manipulator arms strong enough to lift heavy explosives.