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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.
The robotic horse got its major debut in 2014 during the Rim of the Pacific, the largest military exercise in the Pacific region. While the system proved it could follow commands and cross rugged ground, its shortcomings were also highlighted.
"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.
The U.S. Military Academy identified a cadet who has been missing since Friday evening as 20-year-old Kade Kurita.
A search began for Kurita after he failed to report for a scheduled military skills competition around 5:30pm on Friday. West Point officials said in the Tuesday press release that he is believed to still be nearby.
Vets can relive their childhood dreams of building massive block armies with free tickets to Legoland this November
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Radio Free Europe/Radio Free Liberty
Russian President Vladimir Putin says he and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have made "momentous" decisions regarding Ankara's military offensive in northeast Syria, with both sides saying they had agreed to conduct joint military patrols in the tense region.
Russian and Turkish officials said a five-day U.S.-brokered truce had been extended for 150 hours, starting on midday on October 23, and that Kurdish militias would be required to clear out of a 30-kilometer buffer zone along the Turkish border.
A Navy lieutenant and his wife were arrested in a joint FBI and NCIS raid Thursday in the San Jose area.
The raid occurred at the home of Navy Lt. Fan Yang and his wife, Yang Yang.
Documents obtained by First Coast News say Fan Yang currently holds a top-secret U.S. security clearance and is actively serving in the Navy in a sensitive anti-submarine warfare unit. He was assigned to the Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Weapons School at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.