July 17, 2013:
With its recent $17 million purchase, the Afghan Army now has over a thousand MMP-30 robots (for mine and roadside bomb clearing) in service or on order. The base price of the MMP-30 is $4,325. But add in accessories, service, spare parts, and the like and the final price more than doubles. The MMP-30s began arriving four years ago, after the Afghans decided that it was the best model for their growing force of bomb clearance technicians. The MMP-30 entered service six years ago as the smaller MMP-15 and four years ago as the MMP-30. One of the first users of the MMP-30 was the U.S. Navy EOD (Explosives Ordnance Disposal) teams, and they recommended it to the Afghans (who had also used them).
The MMP-30 got into an already crowded market by being cheaper and more rugged than the existing Talon and PackBot droids that have dominated the market for years. The MMP-30 is a 13.6 kg (30 pound) robot with a 9 kg (20 pound) payload. Its batteries will last two hours (before being replaced or recharged). The MMP-30 is light enough to be carried into action, with another man carrying the accessories. The MMP-30 can be operated via cable or wirelessly. It can mount the usual assortment of cameras and claws.