GDLS Awarded $249 Million U.S. Army Contract for SMET Increment I Program

General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) was awarded a $249 million contract by the U.S. Army for Increment I of the Small Multipurpose Equipment Transport (SMET) program.

The initial delivery order is being awarded under this action to obligate $14.1 million to provide field service representative support for remaining test events, data deliverables, refurbishment of test systems, production of 24 S-MET systems, associated authorized stock list kits and prescribed stock list kits.

According to the Pentagon contract announcement, bids were solicited via the internet with three received. The U.S. Army Contracting Command (ACC) at Detroit Arsenal (DTA) in Michigan, is the contracting activity (W56HZV-20-F-0382).

Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of July 14, 2025.

In October last year, GDLS was awarded a $162.4 million Army contract to supply robotic vehicles under the SMET program. This contract is to produce 624 S-METs.

General Dynamics 8x8 MUTT Wheeled
An 8×8 wheeled version of Multipurpose Unmanned Tactical Transport (MUTT) developed by General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS).

U.S. Army Small Multipurpose Equipment Transport (SMET) program

With the Small Multipurpose Equipment Transport (SMET, S-MET) program (pronounced “Ess-Met”), the U.S. Army seeks to procure a small unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) that can follow foot soldiers, can transport their equipment and supplies, and charge batteries for their electronic gear. The program was earlier called Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport.

The SMET program aims to lighten Soldiers’ loads by providing infantry brigade combat teams (IBCTs) a robotic “mule” capability. By unburdening Soldiers of some of their physical load, the SMET improves their physical and cognitive capabilities.

S-MET’s basic operational capabilities include:

• Unmanned/optionally manned system
• Carries 1,000 lbs., reducing Soldier weight burden by 100-plus pounds each when in support of a rifle squad;
• Operate for 60 miles within 72 hours;
• Have a silent run-capability generating 3 kilowatts of power when stationary and 1 kilowatt while moving.

The vehicle will be also able to recharge batteries of Soldier’s night vision goggles (NVGs), radios, and other electronics by using onboard power.

Future capability will feature modular mission payloads tailoring the SMET to specific mission needs, such as dismounted engineer mobility systems; remote weapon stations; casualty evacuation; and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and reconnaissance.

The initial candidate platforms participated in the S-MET Phase I Assessment held in September 2017 at Fort Benning, Georgia. The evaluation enabled the Army to learn about each of the candidate platforms’ capabilities and obtain operational feedback based on Soldiers’ interactions with the candidate S-MET systems. Based on the results in November 2017, the Army narrowed to four contractors to evaluate their respective platforms during a 12-month (later reduced to seven-month) S-MET Phase II Technology Demonstration.

These four vehicles are MRZR-X system from Polaris Industries Inc., Applied Research Associates Inc. (ARA) and Neya Systems LLC; the Multi-Utility Tactical Transport (MUTT) from General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS); the Hunter Wolf from HDT Global; and the Grizzly RS2-H1 from Textron Systems/Howe and Howe Technologies.

U.S. Army S-MET UGVs
Four contenders for U.S. Army’s Small Multipurpose Equipment Transport (S-MET) “robotic mule” unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) program. Clockwise from left: Grizzly RS2-H1 from Textron Systems/Howe and Howe Technologies, Hunter Wolf from HDT Global, Multi-Utility Tactical Transport (MUTT) from General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) and MRZR-X system from Polaris Industries Inc., Applied Research Associates Inc. (ARA) and Neya Systems LLC. Photo Courtesy: U.S. Army.

These vehicles was then again evaluated by the Army during a 12-month (later reduced to seven-month) S-MET Phase II Technology Demonstration. Phase II called for each of the four selected contractors to produce 20 platforms. Four of the produced S-METs supported safety testing, Commercial-Off-the-Shelf operator manual verification, Instructor and Key Personnel Training, and Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) development.

Upon completion of safety testing, the Product Management Office for Applique and Large Unmanned Systems issued eight of each respective prototype S-METs to IBCTs within the 10th Mountain and the 101st Airborne Divisions in the first quarter of the Fiscal Year 2019 for the seven-month Phase II Technology Demonstration. Results from the Technology Demonstration informed program decisions and further solidified S-MET TTPs.

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