U.S. Air Force Begins Rollout of High-Tech MTRS II EOD Robots to Installations

The U.S. Air Force (USAF) Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC)’s Readiness Directorate made its first delivery of the new medium-size explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) robot, the Man Transportable Robot System Increment II (MTRS II), to the field.

A total of seven new robots were delivered to Tyndall Air Force Base on Oct. 15 — four to the 325th Civil Engineer Squadron and three to the 823rd Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron (823rd RED HORSE Squadron), Detachment 1. The AFCEC will deliver 333 high-tech robots to every EOD flight Air Force-wide over the next 16-18 months. Each active-duty, Guard and Reserve flight will receive 3-5 robots.

The MTRS II is a remotely operated, medium-sized robotic system that enables EOD units to detect, confirm, identify and dispose of unexploded explosive ordnance (UXO) and other hazards from a safe distance.

The MTRS II robot is based on FLIR Systems’ (Endeavor Robotics) Centaur unmanned ground vehicles (UGV). Weighing roughly 160 pounds, the open-architected robot features an advanced EO/IR camera suite, a manipulator arm that reaches more than six feet, and the ability to climb stairs. The UGV’s modular payloads can be used for CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high yield Explosives) detection and other missions.

The MTRS II replaces the decade-old Air Force Medium Sized Robot (AFMSR) and provides a more intuitive and user-friendly experience.

While the AFMSR technology was already outdated, the need to replace it became more dire after Hurricane Michael destroyed all robots in the repair facility at Tyndall AFB in October 2018. With support from the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center (AFIMSC), AFCEC was able to develop and field the new system in less than two years.

In addition to the $43 million MTRS II acquisition, AFCEC also plans to complete a large robot acquisition in the coming months to replace the aging Remotec F6A.

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