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Teledyne FLIR PackBot

Lightweight Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV)

United States | 2003

"The PackBot system represents the future of battlefield reconnaissance and IED disposal."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 06/19/2022 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
The Teledyne FLIR "PackBot" is a rugged, lightweight, all-weather Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) intended for the bomb disposal / counter-IED role. The system has seen acceptance into service with the likes of the United States Marine Corps (USMC), the Italian military, and - more recently - an order placed by the German Army. Beyond its given ordnance disposal role, this unique system can also tackle battlefield reconnaissance and related search-and-surveillance-tasks that go beyond the military sector - this includes HAZMAT control, police SWAT support, and engineering reviews in the civilian sector, such is its inherent versatility.

PackBot has already proven itself a viable companion for the modern warfighter, particularly in relatively recent actions with American forces in both the Afghanistan and Iraq theaters of war, and paves the way for a new-generation of battlefield robots to come in the near-future.

The heart of the PackBot is its 3-link articulated manipulator arm that extends up to 2 meters in any direction to safely disrupt difficult-to-access objects such as Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), various types of unexploded military ordnance, and buried land mines among other incendiary devices up to 30lbs in weight. A "Small Arm Manipulator" (SAM) is also offered with a rated 15lb weight-lifting limit. The gripper hand can rotate 360-degrees and handle objects the size of baseballs and the user operates the PackBot safely via remotely through a two-hand ergonomic controller (modeled after a game console's gamepad). This controller sports security key encryption to keep out unwanted users.

An optional wire spooler located at the rear of the PackBot chassis manages the controlled release of the optional communications fiber cable to ensure tangle-free operation when in-the-field and operating the unit at-range. The operator also has access to the PackBot facilities by way of a laptop-type interface system with integrated keyboard.

The chassis is propelled via a track-and-wheel arrangement fitted to either side of the chassis. A positional, triangular-shaped track extension assembly is fitted to the front of the chassis to assist PackBot in managing higher ground which, in turn, allows the robot to traverse uneven terrain including staircases, rocky surfaces, loose gravel, and mud. Grade traversal is rated at 60-degrees.

The chassis features an onboard computer powered by a modern PC processor integrating handling and behavioral sensors into the mix via the iRobot "AWARE 2" modular intelligence software suite. Sensors keep track of where the grapple arm is at all times to help eliminate the possibility of accidental collision with nearby structures. The computer is installed with a self-monitoring overheating protection system as well as integrated GPS, compass, and inclinometer.

User-assisted vision is handled by a "Vision and Targeting" camera that features 312x zoom and laser-range finding as well as day / night / low-light vision capability. The camera system can tilt upwards, downwards, rearwards, and forwards and two cameras can also be mounted to the manipulator arm for enhanced situational awareness. PackBot utilizes a gas detection meter for the purpose of detecting and identifying hazardous Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) sources.

The nimble little unit can reach maximum speeds of up to 5.8 miles-per-hour on flat, prepared surfaces, sports an overall height of just 7 inches, a width of 16 inches, and a length of 27 inches with all features stowed. As a whole, PackBot weighs in at 24lb sans its battery pack. Power is supplied by way of 2 x BB-2590 / U lithium-ion rechargeable batteries that give the PackBot up to four hours of operation on a single charge - equal to approximately 10 miles of road travel. PackBots are issued with a spare battery pack for obvious reasons as well as a battery charger.

Teledyne FLIR PackBot marketing material boasts a product with up to 75 available optional accessories for the base Model 510.

The Model 525 is a more modern, more enhanced offering from Teledyne FLIR, seeing upgrades to camera equipment and broadened mission capabilities. It retains the highly-mobile / transportable qualities of the earlier mark.

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September 2011 - On September 27th, 2011, the US DoD announced a $60,000,000 contract for the procurement of 300 iRobot PackBot systems to include applicable maintenance, parts and repair services. Terms of the contract are slated to be completed on July 27th, 2016.

June 2022 - At Eurosatory 2022, it was announced that FLIR will be delivering some 127 Packbot 525 UGVs to the German Army for the counter-IED role.

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one land system design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the FLIR PackBot 510 Lightweight Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV).
1 x Battery-powered electric drive with track-and-wheel arrangement.
Installed Power
6 mph
9 kph
Road Speed
The physical qualities of the FLIR PackBot 510 Lightweight Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV).
2.9 ft
0.87 meters
O/A Length
1.6 ft
0.5 meters
O/A Width
1.3 ft
0.4 meters
O/A Height
115 lb
52 kg | 0.0 tons
Notable series variants as part of the Teledyne FLIR PackBot family line.
PackBot - Base Series Name.
PackBot 510 - Variant.
PackBot 525 - Variant.
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Teledyne FLIR PackBot. Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national land systems listing.

Total Production: 500 Units

Contractor(s): Teledyne FLIR (formerly iRobot) - USA
National flag of modern Germany National flag of Italy National flag of the United States

[ Germany (announced); Italy; United States ]
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Design Qualities
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to battlefield requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Teledyne FLIR PackBot Lightweight Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) appears in the following collections:
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