A new robot may soon give Marine Corps explosive ordnance disposal teams better and safer access to undersea dangers, as the Corps starts to field the remotely operated vehicle.
Marine Corps Systems Command started fielding the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Remotely Operated Vehicle in September, according to a Thursday press release.
The box-shaped vehicle is equipped with sound navigation, range sensors, high-definition video cameras and an arm capable of brushing aside seaweed or disarming a mine, the release said.
The vehicle is linked to a tablet-like device allowing a Marine to disable bombs near a potentially hostile shore from a safe distance away.
“The ROV gives us a remote means to search underwater while also helping us stay at our best when having to prosecute explosive devices,” Master Sgt. Patrick Hilty, an EOD project officer for Marine Corps Systems Command said in the release.
The maneuverability of the device allows Marines to get a bit creative and use the vehicle as a scout near potentially hostile shores or harbors to assess damage to a Navy vessel or even look for lost items, the release said.
“This robot gives Marines eyes in the water,” Hilty said.
“It is a capability the Marine Corps has never before had,” he added.
In addition to freeing Marine divers from risky missions in shallow waters, the device is capable of diving deeper than any manned missions currently can, Master Sgt. Matthew Jackson, with 1st EOD Company’s Littoral Explosive Ordnance Neutralization section said in the release.
The device is particularly easy to learn how to operate as well, Jackson said.
“Instead of sending a Marine to a course for seven or eight weeks, it takes about four days to learn basic operations for successful employment,” the Marine said in a statement.
The new robot is the first in a series of explosive ordnance disposal vehicles scheduled to be fielded “gradually over the next several years,” that will allow the Corps to “search a wider area in the littorals, including the very shallow water, surf and beach zones,” according to the release.