Robots to Take the Field

Robots to Take the Field: The mine-area clearing robotic vehicle developed by the 823rd RED HORSE at Hurlburt Field, Fla., in collaboration with the Air Force Research Lab element at Tyndall AFB, Fla., is headed for Afghanistan within the next two months. Air Force officials say it took more than $2 million and a year and a half to perfect the system that can be operated by a control box and laptop software. CMSgt. Mark Lewis, the 823rd’s chief of airfields, says it has been tough to expand airfields in Afghanistan because the country has so many minefields left over from the Russians and Taliban. On initial deployments, RED HORSE units had to put two people in a non-robotic version of the vehicle to clear minefields. Now, two operators can remain outside the danger zone. The Air Force plans to buy more of the robotic minesweepers.