Finding new ways to incorporate robots and autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles into warfighting has captured the attention of researchers, programs and top commanders in recent years. But nothing as basic and practical as the gear mule concept has come so close to reality.
This year, soldiers with the 101st Airborne Division and 10th Mountain Division and Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, received batches of four different variants of the Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport.
Four companies have offered their versions for soldiers and Marines to test in rugged terrain and in austere conditions.
They are the MRZR X, based off the Polaris MRZR currently in service with the Marines; the General Dynamics 4×4 Multi-Utility Tactical Transport or MUTT; the Howe and Howe RS2-H1; and the HDT Global Hunter WOLF, or Wheeled Offload Logistics Follower.
The MRZR X is a four-wheeled all-terrain vehicle; and the MUTT is an eight-wheeled vehicle with a flatbed configuration.
The Hunter WOLF is a six-wheeled vehicle that uses a morphed tire/track for traction; and the RS2-H1 is the only tracked vehicle submission.