Brokk is unveiling its SR (security and rescue) systems for the Marine Corps community at this conference. The SR machine is a new offering for the company, having evolved from its substantial commercial off-the-shelf portfolio – which includes more than 8,000 units in service in construction, nuclear power and other high-risk industries around the globe.
The SR product fills an interesting niche in the unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) market. Whereas MON observes many companies increasingly competing for small UGV business opportunities with the armed forces, “this is a multi-use platform,” the company’s Vice President for Nuclear and Military Businesses, Tony Marlow, explained. “Because our equipment offers very heavy lift performance while still compact and remotely operated, it can do things other robots and companies are not addressing. Brokk machines have a huge lift capacity over the ten different standard sized units – we can lift things that weigh 8 tonnes or more on the heavy end, while the small machines can lift items that weigh 1,500lbs (680kg) or more. This heavy lift capability allows very powerful attachments to be deployed as needed.”
One attribute that qualifies SR systems as unmanned is its current standard wireless working range of more than 1,000m, which can be extended to about 5,000m with optional industry-standard radio kit upgrades. The ten SR machine variants are either diesel-hydraulic or electric-hydraulic powered.
Brokk’s initial defence customer for its SR product was the US Air Force, for the explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) mission. The SR machine has integrated numerous inputs in the recent past from prospective military customers and is now available with integrated camera systems, longer-range radio systems, “and other specialised attachments as well, for very specific tasks,” according to Mr Marlow. The range of other materiel available for integration onto the baseline SR machine includes manipulators, grippers and CBRNe sensors, among others. The machine has a modular design and it is straightforward to add additional capabilities.
While Brokk is bringing to bear established partnerships with international companies that provide these articles for its commercial product lines, it did not identify individual partners. “What I would like to say is we have dozens of technology partnerships already in place and are currently adding additional partnerships with well-established and proven suppliers for sensors, communications, and other related equipment for this new machine,” Marlow added.
The company declined to provide a list of their prospective US military customers, but did reveal it has and is submitting proposals the US Defense Department and military organisations beyond the US, to meet requirements and opportunities for tunneling and subterranean work, CBRNe, EOD, IED and other significant contemporary missions. The company will also be exhibiting next month at AUSA in Washington, DC.