Support: Talon Deals With Bombs In Pakistan


January 10, 2014:   In late 2013 Pakistan followed its neighbor Afghanistan in adopting an American robot for dealing with roadside bombs. Pakistan is buying a hundred Talon UGVs (unmanned ground vehicles) for about $73,000 each. The U.S. military bought over a thousand Talons since 2000. The Talon was first used in the Balkans, in 2000, to help deal with left over munitions (that might explode unexpectedly.) In Iraq and Afghanistan, Talons have been used in over 80,000 EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) missions, usually roadside bombs.

The Talon is generally considered the top-of-the-line model. Basic weight is about 45 kg (100 pounds), and it can carry up to 90 kg of gear or cargo. Typical equipment load is about 15 kg (33 pounds), and usually includes a double jointed arm that can grasp objects. Talon usually carries four cameras, and when using a wireless data link, can be up to 1,600 meters from the operator.

With all this combat experience, there are now a large selection of proven accessories for Talon. These include night cameras, microphones, loudspeakers and even a sniffer that can detect explosives via analysis of chemical particles in the air. There is an armed version, but the military is reluctant to put this one into service.

Talon is the fastest of its class, able to move at up to 6.5 kilometers an hour (nearly two meters a second, a brisk walking pace). It can travel underwater, up and down stairs, and across most types of nasty terrain (muck, snow and the like). In normal operation, its batteries last about eight hours.

Neighboring Afghanistan adopted a smaller and cheaper MMP-30 for EOD work. The Afghan Army has over a thousand MMP-30s 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 in 2009 after the Afghans decided that it was the best model for their growing force of bomb clearance technicians. The MMP entered service in 2007 as the smaller MMP-15 and in 2009 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.





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