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Foster-Miller TALON

    Image:SWORDS robot.jpg|thumb|right|The SWORDS system allows soldiers to fire small arms weapons by remote control from as far as 1000 meters away
    The Foster-Miller TALON™ robot is a small military robot designed for missions ranging from reconnaissance to combat
    It is a tracked vehicle said to be one of the fastest robot in the market It can travel almost anywhere through sand snow underwater (out to depths of 100 feet) climb stairs (a feat for any modern robot) and all the while showing the operator up to 1000m away the world in colour black and white infrared and night vision It can run off lithium-ion batteries for a maximum of 7 days independently before needing recharging It can also withstand repeated decontamination allowing it to work for long periods of time in contaminated areas It was used in ground zero after the September 11th attacks working for 45 days with many decontaminations without electronic failure This led to the further development of the HAZMAT Talon
    It weighs less than 100lb (45kg) or 60 lb (27 kg) for the Reconnaissance version Its cargo bay accommodates a variety of sensor payloads The robot is controlled through a two-way radio or fiber optic line from a portable or wearable Operator Control Unit (OCU) that provides continuous data and video feedback for precise vehicle positioning
    Regular (IED/OED) TALON: It carries sensors and a robotic manipulator which is used by the US Army for explosive ordinance disposal and disarming improvised explosive devices
    Reconnaissance TALON: Doesn't have the robotic arm arm but carries day/night color cameras and listening devices its also lighter due to the absence of the arm
    SWORDS TALON: Another version has been created called SWORDS for small arms combat and guard roles Tested in December 2003 in Kuwait prior to deployment in Iraq
    HAZMAT (First Responders) TALON: Becoming available in 2004 using chemical gas temperature and radiation sensors that are displayed in real time to the user on a hand-held display unit It is now being tested by the US Armament Research Development and Engineering Center ARDEC
    The robot costs approximately $60000 in its standard form Foster-Miller were subsequently bought out by QinetiQ a United Kingdom military developer

    SWORDS

    SWORDS or the Special Weapons Observation Reconnaissance Detection System is a weaponized version being developed by Foster-Miller for the US Army The robot is composed of a weapons system mounted on the standard TALON chassis The current price of one unit is $230000 but when it enters mass production the price is expected to drop to between $150000 and $180000 Even in cold economic terms the SWORD is still cheaper to destroy than a soldier who takes years and approx $50000 USD to get to operational status Sergeants cost even more in the hundreds of thousands of dollars not to mention the soldier's family and friends and the irreparable emotional damage There is also the issue of a soldier's pension and burial which raise the price of a human soldier even more
    It is projected to be the first armed robotic vehicle to see combat when 18 of the robots (dubbed "Robo-Soldier" by the US Army") are deployed in Iraq
    There are a variety of different weapons that can be placed on the SWORDS; M16 556mm SAW M249 762mm M240 Barrett .50 cal M2 gun] a six barrelled 40mm grenade launcher or quad 66mm M202-A1 anti-tank rocket launcher
    On the firing range these two-foot little high robots are lethal With an efficiency that a human could never replicate the SWORDS are the snipers motto "one shot one kill" The robot is not autonomous but instead has to be controlled by a soldier using a small console to remotely direct the device and fire its weapons Foster-Miller are currently at work on a "Game Boy" style controller with virtual-reality goggles for future operators

    Deployment

    The Talon has been deployed in military service since 2000 being used in Bosnia for the movement of munitions and EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) to get rid of grenades Also used in Ground Zero after the September 11th attacks in search and recovery It is the only robot used in this effort that didn't require any major repair Foster-Miller says that the Talon was used for a Classified mission by US Special Forces in the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan as well as in a EOD role In Iraq its standard role has been performing EOD and IED (improvised explosive devices) destruction missions Its combat SWORDS version is now being used their in a guard role protecting front line buildings from attack According to Foster-Miller it has performed 20000 EOD missions in the conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan

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