General Dynamics Land Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics, delivered to the U.S. Army an initial tranche of 16 Small Multipurpose Equipment Transport (S-MET) vehicles, making them the first ground robots of their kind in Army history. Based upon GD’s Multi-Utility Tactical Transport (MUTT), the S-MET is an eight-wheeled, enabling robotic technology for the dismounted Soldier. It lightens the load as an equipment-carrying “robotic mule” but also has built-in flexibility for wide variety of combat, combat support and combat service support functions and payloads. Featuring a hybrid-electric powertrain, it provides expeditionary power generation and is operated by a single-hand remote control.
“We are proud to deliver this breakthrough unmanned ground vehicle capability,” said Gordon Stein, vice president and general manager of U.S. operations at General Dynamics Land Systems. “Through our partnership with the Army, General Dynamics Land Systems has remained at the leading edge of robotic combat vehicles that are designed to relieve Soldiers of dull, dirty and dangerous missions now and into the future.”
General Dynamics Land Systems won the Army’s competition for the S-MET program in 2020. General Dynamics Land Systems provides innovative design, engineering, technology, production and full life-cycle support for land combat vehicles around the globe. The company’s extensive experience, customer-first focus and seasoned supply chain network provide unmatched capabilities to the U.S. military and its allies. The S-MET is an autonomous 8×8 all-terrain vehicle able to carry dismounted soldiers’ water, ammunition, and other equipment and gear. The vehicle is designed to be an unmanned system, but can also be optionally manned, and can carry 1,000 lb (454 kg) while also traveling for distances of more than 97 km in 72 hours.
General Dynamics’ current contract was the Army’s second attempt at an award after the first deal was terminated following a successful protest from Textron, which claimed GD significantly altered its design following a soldier evaluation during the OTA period. Following the protest decision, the Army restarted the competition in February and sent new Request for Proposals to the four original competitors: GD, Polaris [PII], HDT Expeditionary Systems and Textron’s Howe & Howe. The US Army ultimately received three bids for the final SMET contract, then awarding the deal to General Dynamics.