The S-MET program aims at lightening Soldiers’ loads by providing Infantry Battalions a robotic “mule” capability, and a power generation capability to offload power for charging batteries and powering additional Modular Mission Payloads, to increase combat effectiveness while operating in austere environments for extended periods. A phased, rapid acquisition plan allowed the Army to make informed program decisions from Soldier feedback on commercially available technology – fielding faster than typical processes allow.
Important insights from Soldier interaction with the candidate S-MET systems during a phased acquisition process made important contributions to shaping Tactics, Techniques and Procedures, concept of operations, and source selection.
BENEFIT TO THE WARFIGHTER:
The S-MET will modernize the Army’s inventory of robots to provide IBCTs a robotic “mule” capability. The S-MET provides the capability to generate offload power for charging batteries and powering additional Modular Mission Payloads, and conduct unconstrained movement without excessive physical burden, while operating as a dispersed and decentralized force in austere environments for extended periods. By unburdening Soldiers, S-MET will enable IBCTs to travel greater distances and carry more, and in so doing, improving Soldiers’ physical and cognitive capabilities.
S-MET’s basic operational capabilities include:
- Unmanned/optionally manned system
- Carries 1,000 lbs., reducing the dismounted Soldier’s weight burden by 100-plus pounds each
- Operates 60-plus miles in 72 hours
- Generates 3 kilowatts of power (stationary) and 1 kilowatt (moving,) keeping equipment and batteries charged on the move.
The SMET program marks one of the Army’s first Middle Tier Acquisitions for Rapid Fielding. This acquisition approach foregoes the traditional Department of Defense 5000.02 acquisition process, streamlining the delivery and fielding of capabilities within a period of five years. The S-MET program’s FAR-based solicitation was released July 29, 2019, and the Army awarded the S-MET production contract, which was announced Oct. 30, 2019.
Based on the current funding profile and fielding schedule, the Army plans to field S-MET in the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2021 and complete fielding of 624 S-METs by the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2024. The Army will continue to refine S-MET requirements based on a 12-month Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership and Education, Personnel, Facilities and Policy (DOTMLPF-P) analysis. Modular Mission Payloads will be developed and integrated to the S-MET Increment I platforms to increase system capability. Data collected during the DOTMLPF-P analysis and MMP integration will inform requirements for the full Capability Development Document (CDD) prior to the Fiscal Year 2022 Army Requirements Oversight Council (AROC) and competitive re-compete of S-MET Increment II.