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The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has selected L3Harris Technologies to deliver up to 50 medium-sized T4 explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) robots to defeat explosive threats located within confined urban spaces, the company announced on 10 May 2024.

The contract, worth USD 18 million (EUR 16.7 million), includes providing the robots, in-country support, maintenance and training and follows L3Harris’ successful delivery of Project Starter: a programme that replaced the British Army’s legacy fleet of large EOD robots with 122 T7 systems that have been fully operational since 2019.

“Like the T7, the T4 robots will play an integral role in enhancing the EOD capabilities leveraged by the British Army,” Lieutenant General Simon Hamilton, the director general for land systems within the UK MoD’s Defence Equipment and Support organisation, was quoted as saying in an L3Harris press release. “Critical to the MoD’s land modernisation ambitions is the prioritisation of agile, modular and highly capable technology built to tackle the demands of the future threat environment. The versatile T4 is a significant step forward in achieving this,” Lt Gen Hamilton added.

“We’re ready to deliver these critical systems to the UK armed forces for their EOD operators,” said Ed Zoiss, president of Space and Airborne Systems at L3Harris. “The T4 robots offer many of the same capabilities and intuitive control as the T7 robot but in a more compact footprint, allowing operators to safely access threats in much smaller spaces.”

This contract award with the UK follows L3Harris securing a contract award to supply T4 and T7 robot variants for the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Those robots will be delivered to Australia from mid-2024 as part of the ADF’s Land-154 programme to enhance EOD unit capabilities in improvised explosive device neutralisation and exploitation as well as route clearance.

The US Air Force has also ordered more than 100 T7 robots to support its EOD missions around the world, many of which have been delivered and are now fully operational.

L3Harris asserts that its T4 is the first medium-sized robot with haptic feedback: an advanced technology that allows operators to feel exactly what the robotic arm touches or holds.

“Through its unique user interface, the robot arm mirrors the movement of the user’s hand, minimising required training and maximising mission effectiveness,” L3Harris states on its website, adding that the T4’s intuitive haptic control “enables difficult manipulation tasks, such as unzipping bags and opening glove boxes, to be performed quickly and easily – keeping operators out of harm’s way”.

L3Harris asserts that its T4 is the first medium-sized robot with haptic feedback. The UK MoD is procuring up to T4s to defeat explosive threats located within confined urban spaces. (Photo: L3Harris)