Robotics contract improves military range operations

U.S. Army Engineering and SUpport Center, Huntsville
Published Feb. 3, 2020

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville Ordnance and Explosives Military Munitions Design Center recently awarded a $40 million contract to deliver robotic services on military training ranges.

The contract leverages the joint capabilities of Dawson Services of Honolulu, Hawaii and Zapata Engineering of Charlotte, North Carolina, to provide a mix of government-furnished, remotely operated robotic equipment on military training ranges where the presence of unexploded ordnance makes it dangerous for work crews to perform the same work.

A common requirement will be clearing brush and trees that have grown and are blocking the line-of-sight between firing points and targets. In addition to specifically-configured tree mulching machines the equipment also includes control systems that can be mounted on rented equipment, thus reducing the government’s capital equipment cost to deliver the services.

Spencer O’Neal, OE Design Center Ranges Program Manager, said the contract enables Huntsville Center to deliver range services in a more time-efficient and cost-effective manner.

“Having this state-of-the-art capability to help installations keep their training ranges in optimal condition means we are fulfilling our purpose which is supporting the warfighters who are defending our nation,” O’Neal said.

O’Neal said the first deployment of the services will be at Fort. A.P. Hill, Virginia where a target berm will be removed and the dirt spread in a way that will both improve storm water drainage on the range while allowing soldiers, federal law enforcement and other personnel to practice shooting at more distant targets than the range currently allows.

Following that project, O’Neal said the equipment will be moved to Fort Stewart, Georgia, to remove trees blocking the view of targets from the weapons firing points.

Release no. 20-004