Squad Mission Support System (SMSS) is a robotic platform based
on a turbo-diesel powered, high mobility six wheel all-terrain
vehicle (ATV) capable of carrying 1,000 pounds (453 kg) of payload.
Current platforms are utilizing a commercial platform converted
for a surrogate SMSS vehicle. Future versions will utilize specially
designed platforms, optimized for the SMSS mission.
SMSS is designed to carry enough
loads to support a single squad, and utilizes a sophisticated
management system to enable autonomous movement over rough terrain,
as well as amphibious capability for crossing rivers and marshes.
The SMSS’ supervised autonomy will provide the warfighter
with a reliable squad-sized vehicle which will improve combat
readiness, while assuring re-supply channels and casualty evacuations.
The vehicle cost is expected to be around US$200,000 per unit.
Lockheed Martin is expecting a market for 4,000 such vehicles.
The company is planning to introduce an operational SMSS by
2009. While SMSS is expected to assume part of the roles planned
for the Future Combat Systems' (FCS) dismounted
infantry support vehicle (MULE), Lockheed Martin does not
expect this vehicle to become a competitor for their MULE.
The vehicle was introduced by Lockheed Martin in August
2006, and was displayed at the AUSA 2006 exhibition. robotics
program, funded by Lockheed Martin as an independent research
and development project, will provide manned and unmanned transport
and logistical support to the Light and Early Entry Forces.
"Our long-term vision of this system can accommodate armed
variants, while improving its reconnaissance, intelligence,
surveillance and target acquisition (RISTA) capabilities within
the concept of supervised autonomy," says Gene Holleque,
director - Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles
and Fire Control. "A squad-size manned or unmanned support
vehicle just makes sense in today's asymmetrical and urban battlefields."