Military


MATILDA

MATILDA -- the Mesa Associates' Tactical Integrated Light-Force Deployment Assembly - is a low-cost (under $25,000 base price) reconnaissance robot built by Mesa Associates (Madison, AL). It weights 40 lbs. and measures 26"L x 20"W x 12"H (platform only). Optional attachments include a small trailer (400 lbs. capacity), a manipulator arm, and a remotely detachable breaching mechanism that allows explosive charges to be attached to a door or wall. UGV/S JPO funded the upgrade of the basic unit (Point Man) to the Urban Warrior version, and acquired 10 units, four of which are being evaluated by the National Guard's Civil Support Detachment / Weapons of Mass Destruction Teams (CSD-WMD). Tests of explosive breaching on simulated walls and doors using the MATILDA robot have been conducted by personnel from the Army Maneuver Support Center (Fort Leonard Wood, MO) at the MOUT Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) in Fort Benning, GA, during the summer of 1999.

Interest continues to mount for a small man portable robot to conduct a variety of missions. In 1999, the National Guard Civil Support Detachments, who assist civil authorities with locating and disposing of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), expressed a need for a small robot to conduct reconnaissance of possible WMD's. In October 1999, the National Guard "Rapid Assessment Initial Detection" (RAID) Team demonstrated the MATILDA in the "Broken Arrow" exercise. The National Guard has established Civil Support Teams (CST) to provide the first level of military support in response to a Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) threat. These teams are designated as CST-WMD. The UGV/S JPO has been supporting these teams with the Urban Warrior MATILDA Robotic Vehicles. Urban Warrior MATILDA Robotic Vehicles have been provided to CSTs for evaluation on a Loan/Lease Agreement. These evaluations provided a significant amount of critical information for upgrading the initial system. Key elements of these evaluations have resulted it the development of a robotic manipulator arm, operator control unit upgrade, light kit, 4-wheel trailer, larger monitor, and an upgraded radio system for extended range.




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