Machine Design

A Marine's best friend

The U.S. Marines could soon have a scout that rolls on wheels rather than walks on foot.

The Gladiator is built by United Defense Industries Inc., Arlington, Va. ( It comes out of a move by Congress to ensure one-third of all military vehicles be unmanned by 2015. The tactical unmanned ground vehicle (TUGV) was developed by engineers at United Defense and the Robotic Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. It will be used by infantry battalions and combat-engineer companies to handle remote reconnaissance including searches for nuclear, biological, and chemical threats, surveillance, target acquisition, and breaching obstacles.

The 1,600-lb vehicle will be modular, capable of carrying various weapons and sensor suites. It is also small and light enough for transport by Humvees, CH-46 and CH-53 helicopters, MV-22 Ospreys, and amphibious assault vehicles (AAVs). At demonstrations, Gladiators have launched smoke grenades to illustrate their potential for firing tear gas, shock grenades, and other munitions. For defense, the vehicles will be armored to withstand 7.62-mm rounds. They will also be able to scale 16-in. obstacles and travel at 21 mph. A Marine wearing operator controls will direct Gladiator and receive real-time video. The video can be relayed to other locations.

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