The General Dynamics Land Systems Multi-Utility Tactical Transport (MUTT) was displayed in its production configuration at the AUSA exhibition.
Its adoption by the US Army for its Small Multipurpose Equipment Transport (SMET) program makes it the first unmanned ground vehicle in its class formally adopted and fielded by a major NATO military. SMET is intended to accompany light infantry units and carry essential supplies. The system reduces the burden on the dismounted soldier and increases the organic sustainment of forward tactical units.
General Dynamics Land Systems was awarded the contract in July 2020 to deliver 624 systems by 2025.
US forces are receiving MUTT in its 8×8 version. Its compact 2.9 m (116 in) X 1.5 m (60 in) size allows it to move through tight terrain and can be transported in helicopters. SMET’s 1136 kg (2500 lb) payload permits transporting water, ammunition, rations, spare batteries, and other supplies, allowing units to operate with reduced need for immediate resupply. It’s on-board power generation will also power equipment and charge batteries. This enhances the ability of the forward unit for sustained action.
Soldier feedback from operational trials of the unmanned system used in the logistics role has been overwhelmingly positive. MUTT can be remotely operated to a distance of around 200 meters, while semi-autonomous and physical tether operation are possible additional capabilities.
Soldiers already have begun to expand the applications of MUTT. Users at 10th Mountain mounted radios for communications relay. Some also see in MUTT a potential solution to other crucial load mobility deficiencies within the light infantry, such as providing transport for company heavy weapons, antitank missiles, mortars and their ammunition.
Beyond this, General Dynamics has provided MUTT platforms to the Army Ground Vehicle Systems Centre for Project Convergence experiments in the Yuma desert that have been configured with Javelin anti-tank missiles.
In addition, OPFOR units at Fort Polk tactically employed the system with a remote mounted machine gun, the Javelin, and a tethered quadcopter in force-on-force training exercises.
Tim Reese of General Dynamics Business Development shared that “the company has been working closely with various users toward many additional applications and roles.” These efforts, to date, have demonstrated MUTT’s ability to transform for not only a range of logistics tasks but also to perform as an unmanned combat platform.
The broad scope of SMET’s fielding will find the MUTT platform closely watched by many militaries, both for clues as to its performance and the capabilities and value of unmanned ground systems, in general.
by Stephen W. Miller