Unmanned Vehicles Heading to A'stan
The US military's fleet of unmanned vehicles may soon get some extra support, now that Lockheed Martin's Squad Mission Support System (SMSS) has received the Army's official blessing. Designed to support infantry squads or special ops forces, the company's autonomous craft was recently crowned the winner of the Army-sponsored Project Workhorse Unmanned Ground Vehicle competition, after more than a decade of development. Measuring 11 feet in length, the SMSS is capable of transporting more than 1,000 pounds of equipment over rugged terrain, and features a set of onboard sensors that can automatically track individuals by recognizing their 3D profiles. Both the SMSS and its Block I variant can be carried aboard CH-47 and CH-53 choppers, with the latter offering a driving range of 125 miles. Three of the beasts will deploy to Afghanistan for a three-month evaluation later this year, when they'll become the largest unmanned vehicles to ever deploy with infantry.