ReconRobotics and Liberty Dynamic have collaborated to enable the former’s Throwbot 2 agile robot to carry the latter’s Enhanced Diversionary Device (EDD) – a new development that readers of Military Technology may remember recently being described as “not your grand-daddy’s flash-bang.”

By having the robot blended with a flash-bang, military and law enforcement users (hostage rescue, special reaction and SWAT teams) will save precious seconds before detonation and will benefit from real-time intelligence. “It’s all about giving operators tactical advantage,” explained John Chapman, CEO of Liberty Dynamic. “Liberty Dynamic's Enhanced Diversionary Device is not yet in service with the Marine Corps. Just recently, we had a discovery meeting with the [US DoD] Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, which is managed by the Corps. But a demonstration of the EDD has yet to be scheduled.”

By way of additional background Mack Traynor, President and CEO of ReconRobotics, pointed out “The Marines already have several hundred of our miniature robots in service.”

The EDD is said to be a reusable, microprocessor-controlled flash-bang designed to be safer and more economical than standard stun grenades currently used by police officers and military personnel. “Legacy flash-bangs are supposed to be safe,” Mr Chapman stated “but their chemical detonators can sometimes ‘cook off’ too early. They can also cause fires and secondary fragmentation because they burn very hot and explode on the ground.” By contrast, the EDD has a digital fuse for precise, programmable detonation, and it fires its special binary load into free space. As a result, there is a loud bang and blinding airburst, but the device doesn’t kick up secondary debris from the floor. “This has made the Enhanced Diversionary Device very attractive for law enforcement and special operators as well as other platform-makers,” Chapman remarked.

The baseline Throwbot 2 continues to meet the defence, security and law enforcement sectors’ insatiable quest for small yet capable unmanned ground vehicles. The vehicle weighs just 1.3lbs yet can be dropped from 30ft and tossed over walls or into rooms – allowing operators to reconnoitre an area without exposing themselves to hostile fire.

The two companies have just begun their collaborative effort to mount the EDD on a Throwbot 2 robot. At this point, we just have a rough working prototype. But over the next month, we will finalize our development schedule. Then, after that, we will begin execution of the system,” explained Chapman, in response to being asked for a timeline. “The new system will be available to the US allies and friendly nations,” he further observed.

Marty Kauchak

Under a collaborative effort, ReconRobotics and Liberty Dynamic are adapting the tactical Throwbot 2 robot to include the Enhanced Diversionary Device. (Photo: ReconRobotics/Liberty Dynamic)

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