Marine Corps Sends Robotic Mule To The Glue Factory

Gear
Marines with 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment test the capabilities of the Legged Squad Support System (LS3), aboard Fort Devens, Ma., Nov. 5, 2013.
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Michael Walters

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.

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

The legendary former Navy SEAL Adm. Bill McRaven said at an event on Wednesday that China's technical and national defense capabilities were quickly approaching — and sometimes surpassing — those of the US, representing what he called a "holy s---" moment for the US.

McRaven, who was the head of Special Operations Command during the 2011 operation on the Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's Pakistan compound, said at the Council on Foreign Relations event that "we need to make sure that the American public knows that now is the time to do something" about China's rapid increases in research and developments in technology that threaten US national security.

Read More Show Less

If the Army's Next Generation Squad Weapon program is supposed to produce the iPhone of lethality, then the service is looking for as many killer apps as possible.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Robert C. O'Brien arrives to the district court, during the second day of ASAP Rocky's trial, in Stockholm, Sweden August 1, 2019. (Reuters/TT News Agency/Fredrik Persson)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Wednesday named U.S. hostage negotiator Robert O'Brien as his choice to replace John Bolton as his national security adviser, making him the fourth person to hold the post in the Trump administration.

Read More Show Less

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

QUANTICO MARINE CORPS BASE, Virginia -- Textron Systems is working with the Navy to turn a mine-sweeping unmanned surface vessel designed to work with Littoral Combat Ships into a mine-hunting craft armed with Hellfire missiles and a .50-caliber machine gun.

Textron displayed the proof-of-concept, surface-warfare mission package designed for the Common Unmanned Surface Vehicle (CUSV) at Modern Day Marine 2019.

"It's a huge capability," Wayne Prender, senior vice president for Applied Technologies and Advanced Programs at Textron Systems, told Military.com on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
Joel Marrable (Laquna Ross via CNN)

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs put on leave an Atlanta-based administrator and reassigned the region's chief medical officer and seven other staff members while it investigates the treatment of a veteran under its care.

Joel Marrable's daughter discovered more than 100 ant bites on her father when she visited him in early September.

The daughter, Laquna Ross, told Channel 2 Action News: "His room had ants, the ceiling, the walls, the beds. They were everywhere. The staff member says to me, 'When we walked in here, we thought Mr. Marrable was dead. We thought he wasn't even alive, because the ants were all over him.'"

Read More Show Less