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16 septembre 2011 5 16 /09 /septembre /2011 07:10



Sep 15, 2011 defenseindustrydaily.com


In September 2011, small business qualifier The Machine Lab in Wellington, CO receives an $11.9 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract for MMP-30 robots and spare parts repair kits, which combines purchases for the US Navy (24%), and the government of Afghanistan (76%) via the official Foreign Military Sales process.


The purchase arose out of a Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technical Division requirement for a tracked mobile robot system with wireless control, multiple audio/video capability, and replacement parts. The USA already fields MTRS robots for EOD roles, which fit these criteria: the QinetiQ TALON is heavier, but iRobot’s Packbot is in the same 50 pound class as the MMP-30…


TML’s work with the US military began in July of 2007, via a request by the US Army to design 3 new man-portable EOD robot systems with a 4-axis arms, video display OCU, multiple cameras, swappable batteries and chargers, all of which had to weigh under 35 pounds. Those MMP-15 systems were finalized and shipped by the end of October 2007, and saw use in Iraq.


In August of 2009 The Machine Lab received a $2.4 million dollar contract to build over 100 of their larger MMP-30-EOD units, for delivery to Afghanistan by 2011. In In July of 2010, another US Navy contract added 90 more back-packable MMP-30s. The September 2011 contract does not specify, but based on past orders, it would appear to involve several hundred EOD robots.


TML’s MMP-30 does tout itself as a “bare bones simple but rugged machine.” That might be a strong selling point for a country like Afghanistan, with few technical support and repair resources. It also appears to be cheaper than the MTRS robots, which boast more versatility thanks a wider range of add-ons. Even so, the purchase rationale for the US Navy is less obvious, since it already has similar robot designs with fielded support resources.


Work will be performed in Wellington, CO, and is expected to be complete by September 2016. This requirement was synopsized via Federal Business Opportunities as a sole-source procurement, and was not competitively procured by the The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Division in Indian Head, MD (N00174-11-D-0014). If they were acting in the typical FMS role as agents for the Afghan government’s choice, that is not unusual.

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