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US Marines to Field Test Korean Armed Robotic Mule in December

The US Marine Corps will test Hanwha Aerospace’s Arion-SMET unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) in early December.

The three-week field trial will see the Arion transport fuel, combat rations, water, patients, and repair parts at the Marine training center on O’ahu Island, Hawaii.

Hanwha hopes to meet the service’s UGV requirements, including “unmanned vehicle manufacturing technology and field autonomous maneuvering software technology,” the South Korean defense manufacturer said in a press release.

Foreign Comparative Performance Test 

Earlier, the US Department of Defense selected the UGV for its Foreign Comparative Performance Test program in October following a local demonstration.

The Arion is the first South Korean military UGV selected for the project.

Around 10 technologies from foreign allies with a high technology readiness level are selected for development and acquisition under the program out of a group of 300, according to Hanwha.

UGV Features

The robotic mule has a range of 100 kilometers (62 miles) and a speed of 43 kilometers (27 miles) per hour.  

Its payload capacity of 55 kilograms (121 pounds) is on par or greater than the world’s best, the manufacturer stated.

The vehicle can be armed and operated in four ways: “remote control, wired following along a line connected to troops, autonomous driving along a set route, and autonomous navigation that searches the terrain on its own and drives to the destination, even on untraveled roads,” Hanwha explained. 

“The remote control shooting system can support close combat by automatically tracking and aiming at targets and firing while maneuvering.”

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