Nestled alongside Northrop Grumman's large unmanned aircraft in the exhibit hall is a large unmanned ground vehicle, the Robotic All Terrain Vehicle (RAV).

RAV, which has four wheels inside tracks, was developed by the company's Clinton, Tennessee-based Remotec subsidiary, which builds unmanned ground systems. It was designed for the US Army's Family of Integrated Rapid Response Equipment (FIRRE) program, which was intended to provide base protection in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Unattended ground sensors would cue RAV, which could then detect if intruders were present, and investigate and call for further response, if needed. FIRRE was eventually changed to a joint military program but then stalled, said Mark Kauchak, director of marketing and customer support for Remotec.

The company tested RAV against Navy SEALs pretending to be interlopers, and the system worked as planned, he said, but now there's no clear program for it. He said it could be used for casualty evacuation and other missions.

"It's a very adaptable system," he said. "We've had it in mud, snow, sand, and it does really well."

Remotec also builds the diminutive, five-pound Eye Drive throwable robot, manufactured under license from Israel's ODF Optronics. Kauchak said the US Army is testing what he describes as a "niche vehicle," and "we should know the results in two to three weeks."

Source: Flight Daily News