Fort Drum Tests New Robotic TechnologyPosted: Updated:
The prototype transports are the future of Army infantry battalions - a robotic pack-mule that can carry up to 1,000 pounds of grip, lightening the load for small infantry squads.
"These guys go through pretty rough terrain, all weather conditions," said 1st Lt. Diego Alonso, 1st Brigade Combat Team.
There are four different models being tested. The 10th Mountain Division is the first to try them out in a combat situation.
The 1st Brigade Combat Team is in the middle of Mountain Peak, the installation's largest training exercise of the year.
With a fully simulated war zone, what better time to see how these new machines hold up? They carry ruck sacks, extra fuel tanks and even help save wounded soldiers.
"It's a huge upgrade for the dismounted reconnaissance troop. I picked up five casualties in one night at different locations with this vehicle that I wouldn't have been able to do. I'd have been able to make it to maybe two," said 1st Sgt. Joshua Richards, 1st Brigade Combat Team.
The transports can be controlled by remote; some of the models from more than a mile away.
One model is particularly stealthy, no louder than a golf cart.
Soldiers will continue testing the prototypes into the summer.
The Army will use feedback from Fort Drum and Fort Campbell in Kentucky to make improvements and pick out the models it wants to start using.
"The decisions they make impact the Army of the future for a long time, so it's outstanding to have this unit out here that's really motivated and doing great stuff for us," said Lt. Col. Jon Bodenhammer, who's overseeing vehicle testing.
The final products will roll out in early 2020.