Army selects Small Unit Transporter

The General Dynamics MUTT uses hybrid power driving eight wheels to provide not only off-road mobility but also swim capability. It has already caught the attention of commanders to fill a broader range of support tasks for the light infantry. (USArmy)

The US Army on 30 October awarded a $162.4 million contract to General Dynamics Land Systems to provide 624 of its unmanned Multi-Utility Tactical Transport (MUTT).

This successfully concludes the search for Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport (S-MET), an effort begun in 2017 with industry demonstrations at Fort Benning, Georgia, to find and rapidly field a system that can take some of the load off the frontline infantry unit. MUTT was selected over candidates offered by Polaris Defense, Textron/Howe & Howe, and HDT Global.

MUTT has eight wheels with skid steering driven by electric/hybrid power. It is intended to move with the dismounted infantry and can swim. It will carry up to 1,200 lbs (545kg) of equipment or supplies at least 96.6km (60 miles) and provide 3kW of exportable electric power while stationary and 1kW while moving. The unit can be remotely controlled from up to 200 metres distance with a one-hand joystick or as a controllerless follower robot. In addition to carrying loads the MUTT has provisions to allow recharging of small unit radios and other electronics.

Originally conceived by the Army as being used by the infantry squad, it was determined that it would be better held at battalion level and distributed as necessary. This would reduce the maintenance and support burden on the small unit. Light infantry units like the 10th Mountain Division, 82d Airborne and possibly Rangers are likely early recipients of MUTT. The S-MET utilised a new acquisition model referred to as Other Transaction Authority (OTA) that streamlined the process. It used experimentation and demonstrations including direct field user evaluation to accelerate the programme. Initial deliveries are scheduled for early 2021 with contract completion in 2024.

by Stephen W. Miller