Foster-Miller’s MAARS attacks

Qinetiq North America’s Foster-Miller subsidiary has introduced MAARS to its TALON and SWORDS range of military robots.

MAARS (Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System) is modular in design and uses the M240B medium machine gun. Features of MAARS include a uni-body frame with easier battery and electronics accessibility, a larger payload bay and higher torque, creating faster ground speeds and improved braking

The new Digital Control Unit (DCU) is said to improve command and control, situational awareness, manoeuvrability and mobility compared to its SWORDS predecessor resulting in greater safety margins. The complete system weighs about 160kg.

MAARS will also come with a new manipulator arm which has a 45kg lift capability. The arm can quickly replace the turret mounted M240B weapon, transforming it from a remote weapons platform for force protection to an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) identification and neutralisation tool.

The current TALON robot is designed with a manipulator arm and gripper for identification and neutralisation of roadside bombs and related tasks. SWORDS is fitted with an M249 squad automatic weapon for use by the infantry to secure checkpoints and to conduct armed reconnaissance.

According to the company, the MAARS robot will not only permit units to employ multiple mission payloads, but production of common chassis and DCUs will also lead to economies of scale resulting in lowered customer costs.