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From Beanbags to Bomblets

August 4, 2008
By H. Mosher

U.S. military ground troops have received their first fully modular ground robot system that can launch a variety of munitions, from 40-millimeter beanbags to 40-millimeter high-explosive grenades. The Modular Advanced Armed Robotic System (MAARS) features a unibody chassis with a plug-and-play design, so warfighters will be able to expand its capabilities as new accessories and attachments become available.
As currently designed, MAARS works at a range of over half a mile from the human controller. Features include loudspeakers, a green pulsing laser and a two-way communications system. MAARS also can be used to launch smoke, star clusters and pepper spray as well as engage the enemy with an M240B machine gun firing 7.62-millimeter ammunition.

MAARS is a tracked vehicle that can traverse a variety of terrains, including stairs, but it also can be outfitted with wheels to increase travel speed while reducing noise. The turret also can hold a drop-in manipulator arm as well as several types of weapons and sensor packages.

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