TALON production by QinetiQ North America supports detection and neutralisation of deadly IEDs and saves lives
QinetiQ North America's Technology Solutions Group has delivered the 2,000th TALON® robot to the US military – more TALON robots are deployed with the US military than any other robot.
Deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq, TALON robots are primarily used to assist military personnel with the extremely dangerous job of detecting and disabling roadside bombs – the Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) planted by hostile forces to attack troops. The TALON robot is able to remotely disarm the IED without placing the explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and combat engineers in harm’s way.
Many robots have been damaged in their mission, some multiple times, but today they are rapidly repaired by military personnel at Joint Robot Repair facilities located throughout the world, a type of robot hospital. TALON robots, on average, can be repaired after blast damage and returned to service more than 10 times, before complete replacement is necessary – a testament to TALON’s ruggedness and sustainability.
TALON robots were first deployed in 2000, when EOD teams in Bosnia used the robots to safely remove and dispose of live grenades. In 2001, TALON robots were used at the World Trade Center, searching through the rubble for 45 days and nights to help find survivors and victims. The robots were also used to evaluate the structural integrity of the Hudson River’s retaining walls. According to Dr William Ribich, President of the Technology Solutions Group, QinetiQ North America, this performance demonstrated TALON’s ruggedness, ease of use and ability to withstand repeated decontaminations without failure and led to the deployment of TALON in record numbers for service in Afghanistan and Iraq.
From 2001 to 2007 the company delivered 1,000 TALON robots to the US military. Today, just 13 months later, the number of deployed TALON robots has doubled to reach 2,000 – far surpassing any other military-use robot.
“The US government and our company are dedicated to finding innovative solutions that better protect warfighters,” said Ribich. “The TALON robot has helped save thousands of EOD and combat engineers from injury or possible death in the performance of their primary mission of disarming IEDs.”
Since its initial deployment in 2000, the TALON product line has expanded to include robots devoted to specific tasks, such as IED disarmament, reconnaissance, hazardous materials work, combat engineering support and SWAT/MP unit assistant. The TALON robot is modular, allowing for many types of mission-specific arm attachments and negating the need for multiple, specialised robots. It is also man-portable, easily transported and instantly ready for action. TALON moves as fast as its human counterpart on flat terrain, is highly mobile in rough and urban terrain, and has the longest battery life of all in-theatre ground robots.
The family of TALON robots has grown both smaller and larger in size with the respective robotic developments of Dragon Runner and MAARS this year. These new robots address the military’s need for standoff protection from the enemy, over and above the successful use of TALON for counter-IED missions. According to Ribich, this expansion of the TALON line of robots is QinetiQ North America’s response to the military’s growing interest in using robots not only for combat support, but for future combat operations as well.
“We're developing and expanding our line of products to meet the military's future needs because we're dedicated to delivering the best robotic solutions in the industry,” added Ribich. “With today’s full logistics pipeline for robot maintenance, training and support, we’re entering a new era of military robotics, and TALON robots stand ready to assist troops on any battlefield in the world.”