The U.S. Navy has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation subsidiary Remotec Inc. an $8.8 million contract to repair and upgrade 103 MK3 Series Remote Ordnance Neutralizations Systems (RONS), increasing the capabilities and availability of the explosive ordnance disposal robots.
The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division, Indian Head, Maryland, awarded Remotec a sole-source, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract (IDIQ), which has a potential value of more than $12 million if contract options are exercised. The contract also includes the option to purchase a new RONS robot under a separate contract if upgrades or repairs are not economical.
The Navy's Indian Head facility is charged with developing and procuring explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) equipment to meet joint service requirements.
Under the RONS IDIQ contract, Northrop Grumman Remotec will provide depot level repair support; upgrade both the MK3 Mod 0 and Mod 1 version systems; and implement government-approved configuration management changes and engineering enhancements.
The RONS robotic system provides Army and Marine Corps EOD teams the capability to safely and remotely gain site access and perform missions including reconnaissance, diagnosis, render-safe procedures and disposal of ordnance and improvised explosive devices.
The system consists of a chassis with articulators and wheels for excellent mobility, a powerful manipulator, as many as five cameras and an operator control unit. The vehicle can be controlled by either fiber optic cable or a radio.
Remotec was awarded the contract in 1988 for the predecessor to RONS, the Remote Control Transporter (RCT), which was the first U.S. military unmanned ground vehicle program of record. The RONS configuration resulted from a major upgrade of the RCT in 1997.
"Remotec is pleased to build upon the relationship we have had with the Navy since 1988 and proud to continue providing unmanned ground vehicle capabilities that keep our military bomb techs safe. The RCT and RONS story is an excellent example of how the partnership between government and industry can leverage the government investment in systems while providing new capabilities to users," said James Heverin, director, Northrop Grumman Remotec.
"As we plan for the next-generation of military EOD robots, we can continue to provide RONS with new capabilities to meet evolving threats well into the future. Without a doubt, everyone's aim is ensuring our bomb techs have the best equipment possible to keep danger at a distance," Heverin added.