After years of research and a modest price tag, the Marine Corps has decided to scrap its headless robotic mule. Officially called the Legged Squad Support System, or LS3, the robot was designed to lighten Marines’ loads while out on patrol, reports Hope Hodge Seck for Military.com.
The LS3 has gone through many changes since the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, teamed up with the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab in 2010 to create a machine that could function autonomously and haul 400 or more pounds of weight.
In 2013, a second contract worth nearly $10 million was awarded for an additional phase of the program that would demonstrate how the robot would follow troops on foot through rugged terrain, carrying their gear and interpreting verbal and visual commands.
The latest iteration of the LS3 is the brainchild of DARPA and Google Inc’s Boston Dynamics and came about through a two-and-a-half year old contract costing $32 million, writes Seck.
"As Marines were using it, there was the challenge of seeing the potential possibility because of the limitations of the robot itself," Kyle Olson, a spokesman for the Warfighting Lab, told Military.com in reference to the loud lawnmower sound that the robot makes. "They took it as it was: a loud robot that's going to give away their position."
Additionally, the robotic mule doesn’t have a set place in dismounted patrols and troop movements, and while the idea of having a robot shoulder part of a Marine infantryman’s burden sounds very appealing, it just isn’t practical. Yet.
Staff Sgt. Stevon A. Booker, a 3rd Infantry Division Soldier who was assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment and killed in action in Iraq in 2003, is depicted in a photo illustration alongside the Distinguished Service Cross medal, which he is slated to posthumously receive for his heroic actions during Operation Iraqi Freedom, April 5, 2018, in Pittsburgh, Pa. (U.S. Army)
The U.S. Army has announced it will upgrade a former 3rd Infantry Division soldier's Silver Star to a Distinguished Service Cross for his bravery during the unit's "Thunder Run" attack on Baghdad, Iraq, in 2003.
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An Oregon Air National Guard F-15C Eagle that made an emergency landing on Wednesday ditched its entire arsenal of live air-to-air missiles before touching down at Portland International Airport, The War Zone reports.
President Donald Trump announced in December that he would withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, but Sen. Lindsey Graham has since made a strong push to keep a small residual force along the Turkish border along with troops from European allies.
The former Navy SEAL among a group of eight men arrested earlier this week in Port-au-Prince on weapons charges says he was providing security work "for people who are directly connected to the current President" of Haiti.
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