Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: Multifunction Utility Logistics Equipment
Origin: United States of America
Parent System: MULE
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 2011
Total Production: ?
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Description: The MULE, Multifunction Utility Logistics Equipment, is an unmanned, 6x6, Ground Vehicle designed to carry weapons, refurbishment and other military payloads in support of military dismounted units such as infantry squads. The MULE will be able to perform missions jointly with other manned/unmanned vehicles. Unprecedented mobility over current vehicles will be required to access everywhere the infantry units could be deployed. The MULE vehicle will be integral to the FCS manned and unmanned systems and will complement the Objective Force Warrior. It is planned to produce the MULE robotic vehicle weighing 2.5 tons in three variants: Armed Robotic Vehicle - Assault Light (ARV-A(L)), Transport and Countermine. The ARV-A(L) was originally designated Air Assault variant.
The MULE open architecture will enable rapid insertion of the latest technology available. In addition, it will be able to climb up to 1-meter walls while following dismounted troops over rough terrains, rock and debris fields, and urban rubble. It will cross 1-meter gaps, traverse side slopes greater than 40 percent, ford water to depths over 0.5 meters and overpass obstacles as high as 0.5 meters. The vehicle will feature varying payload weights and center of gravity locations. The MULE/ARV-A(L) will feature high mobility 6x6 independent articulated suspension, a line-of-sight gun and an anti-tank capability in support of a lighter, more lethal and mobile fighting force. It is designed to provide immediate heavy firepower to the dismounted soldier.
The Transport MULE will support the dismounted soldier by providing the volume and payload capacity to carry the supplies and equipment necessary to support operations of two dismounted infantry squads. Eventually, it will support medical evacuation needs as well. The Countermine MULE will provide mine detection and neutralization and making of cleared lanes through minefields, greatly increasing the mobility and safety of the infantryman.
On July 21, 2004, BAe Systems received a $59.9 million contract from the US Army funding the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) of the Ground Standoff Minefield Detection System (GSTAMIDS) for the FCS program. The work will be conducted in the United States (Austin, Texas) and the GSTAMIDS will be integrated on the robotic MULE. The system will consists of mine detection with a ground penetrating radar, marking and neutralization using countermine-shaped charges sets. On 22 June 2005, Lockheed-Martin received a $61 MULE system development and demonstration modification contract as a result of FCS program restructure. This move increased the number of MULE prototypes from 17 to 19. The first prototype delivery was expected in the third quarter of 2010 and final deliveries in Spring 2011.
Between 2010 and August 2011 the US Army canceled all three variants of the MULE program.
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