ARLINGTON, Va. — FLIR Systems Inc., a manufacturer of sensors and unmanned robotics systems, announced that its Kobra robot has been chosen for the United States Army’s Common Robotic System-Heavy (CRS-H) program.
The five-year production contract to build upwards of 350 unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) is worth up to $109 million.
Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal units will use the system to perform a range of missions, such as disarming vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, unexploded ordnance, or related heavy-duty tasks. A variety of sensors and payloads also can be added to the UGV to support other missions.
“We are pleased to be selected for the U.S. Army’s CRS-H program and deliver lifesaving robotic technology to our soldiers,” said Jim Cannon, president and CEO at FLIR, in a prepared statement. “This award exemplifies why we acquired Endeavor Robotics earlier this year — to capture strategic programs of record that enable us to integrate advanced solutions for the warfighter, give us the fuel to grow our business, and strengthen our position as a leader in unmanned systems.”
In February of this year, FLIR announced the acquisition of Boston-based UGV manufacturer Endeavor Robotic Holdings Inc., and in January, acquired Waterloo, Ontario’s Aeryon Labs, a developer of unmanned aerial systems, significantly expanding its unmanned systems capabilities.
FLIR says that over several months and two rounds of testing, the U.S. Army compared the Kobra with other vendor systems. Entrants were evaluated on robot reliability, maneuverability, and usability, among other factors before Kobra was selected as the winner.
Previously, in 2017, the U.S. Army chose FLIR’s legacy business, Endeavor Robotics, as its medium-sized UGV provider through the Man Transportable Robotic System Increment II contract. FLIR is delivering its Centaur UGV under this on-going program.
“Our CRS-H platform will give soldiers a powerful, extremely mobile, yet highly transportable UGV, ready to deploy at a moment’s notice to keep them out of harm’s way,” said David Ray, president of the Government and Defense Business Unit at FLIR, also in a statement. “This win is a testament to our employees who’ve designed such an advanced, multi-mission UGV. We look forward to working with the Army to get this robot into the field and deployed with our warfighters.”
FLIR says Kobra has a lift capacity of 330 lbs. (150 kg.) and can stretch up to eleven-and-a-half feet to access hard-to-reach places.
Shipments begin in the second quarter of 2020.