Lockheed Martin, a defense contractor with the US Army, was the winner in the Project Workhorse Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) competition, and hence they will add more credence to their victory by sending a quartet of Lockheed Martin Squad Mission Support System (SMSS) vehicles straight to Afghanistan as part of a three-month Military Utility Assessment (MUA). The SMSS is not small by any means – no sir, it measures 11-feet long (3.3 meters) and is capable of carrying over half-a-ton of a squad’s equipment even when traversing through rugged terrain. That would make it the largest autonomous ground vehicle ever to be deployed with infantry, so hopefully it will be tough as well as the largest target is often the most battered on the battlefield.
During the assessment, the SMSS will carry soldiers’ burdens on the field – where each soldier sometimes need to carry around another 45kg worth of equipment. There will be another vehicle and an engineering team that will deliver analysis and additional support. Hopefully the SMSS will be well protected from attack, as it would be a shame to see such a fine piece of technology fall into the wrong hands if something goes awry.