The Army intends to buy 20 robotic mules from manufacturers and send them out with brigades for a year-long operational test and evaluation, the service’s program manager in charge of unmanned ground systems said March 23.
Bryan McVeigh, project manager for force protection, said a recent Army Requirements Oversight Council looking at the squad multipurpose equipment transport (SMET) vehicle put the breaks on the program, which was heading for fielding in the early 2020s.
The basic requirements will be that the mule carry 1,000 pounds, cover a range of 60 miles within a 72 hour period and generate three kilowatts of power at rest and one kilowatt while underway. The target price is $100,000, he said.
Related Army and Marine efforts have included the Ground Unmanned Support Surrogate (GUSS) and Multipurpose Unmanned Tactical Transport (MUTT) or Multi-Utility Tactical Transport (MUTT).