TALON order nets Foster-Miller $42.8m

Qinetiq subsidiary Foster-Miller has received two US orders for TALON robots and spares, collectively worth $42.8m, for operational deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division (NAVEODTECHDIV) in Indian Head, Maryland has placed a $22.8m order for about 80 more TALON Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) robots and spare parts that combat improvised explosive devices (IEDs). This brings the total funding actually released to $76.4m against a six-year, $257m IDIQ (indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity) contract Foster-Miller announced in September 2005.

The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) on behalf of the Robotic Systems Joint Program Office (RSJPO), has also ordered an additional $20m worth of TALON robots and replacement parts for immediate use by "robot hospitals" in Iraq and Afghanistan. The funds for this order have been released from a $63.4m IDIQ contract with the Navy.

‘Countless lives have been saved through the use of these robots, and they are now viewed as essential equipment in the ongoing struggle to defeat IEDs and save lives in theatres of conflict,’ said Dr William Ribich, Foster-Miller’s president and CEO.

‘Insurgents have been intensifying their attacks on the robots because they know if they can disable them, soldiers will have to go out and defuse the IEDs,’ added Ribich. ‘The robot hospitals do whatever it takes to get damaged TALONs fully operational and back into service, ready to meet the next challenge.’

Robot hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan fix TALON robots damaged by defusing or destroying IEDs and put them back into service within four hours. They are staffed by army, marine and navy maintenance and repair technicians whose mission is to get TALONs back into the hands of troops by rebuilding them with a combination of replacement parts and usable parts scavenged from other damaged TALON robots.