Autonomous Mission Master XT Is an All-Terrain Wizard, Tires Are to Blame

No matter how each of us feels about it, military operations are slowly beginning to incorporate more and more robotic systems. These pieces of hardware are not only becoming increasingly widespread, but they are also becoming more versatile, opening up new avenues for mission planners.
Rheinmetall Mission Master XT 9 photos
Photo: Rheinmetall
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Armed drones and other aerial autonomous weapons systems aside, the world’s armed forces are increasingly interested in what is generally called as Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV). These systems, meant to be deployed on land, can be used for a much larger range of tasks compared to aerial drones, from offensive operations to medevac and payload transport.

The latest addition to the already diverse offering in the UGV segment is the diesel-powered Mission Master XT, a machine designed by the Canadian branch of German defense company Rheinmetall.

Created as an all-terrain machine, the contraption is capable of operating on ice, snow, sand and even in water, as it is amphibious and it can even float.

The Master XT was created to aid troops deployed in the field by carrying the stuff they need to wage war. Weighing 2,217 kg (4,887 lbs), it can carry about half that weight “in all scenarios,” even with big holes in its tires.

According to Rheinmetall, the four wheels on the thing are shod in tires running a continuous inflation system, which allows them to adjust pressure depending on terrain. Even if a bullet (or more) passes through the rubber, and makes a 2 cm (0.78 inch) hole, the XT can still keep on moving as if nothing had happened.

The diesel engine on the UGV and the fuel tanks it is fitted with allows it to operate for as much as 750 km (466 miles), and it even has a lithium-ion battery on board that allows it to perform up to "6 hours of silent watch operations."

The XT can be crewed, if need be, or it can be controlled “through a variety of teleoperation options.” The machine can also be programmed to reach a specific point, and it will do so without any outside interference.

Rheinmetall did not say when the system will be ready for deployment with the military, but given how its sibling, the Mission Master SP, is already deployed, it probably won’t be long.

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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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