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.”