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Hanwha Aerospace UGV to undergo Pentagon testing in U.S.

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Hanwha Aerospace's multipurpose unmanned ground vehicle Arion-SMET demonstrates its technological capabilities at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi, in November. [HANWHA AEROSPACE]
Hanwha Aerospace’s multipurpose unmanned ground vehicle Arion-SMET demonstrates its technological capabilities at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi, in November. [HANWHA AEROSPACE]

Hanwha Aerospace will test its multipurpose unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) Arion-SMET at a U.S. Marine Corps training center in O’ahu, Hawaii.

Hanwha Aerospace signed a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense on the foreign comparative testing (FCT) of Arion-SMET — an acronym for “autonomous and robotic systems for intelligent off-road navigation-small multipurpose equipment transport” —, the defense equipment supplier said Thursday.

The signing of the contract came after the UGV was selected to participate in the U.S. Army’s FCT program in October. The Arion-SMET is Korea’s first unmanned military vehicle to be selected for the program.

The FCT program aims to evaluate and employ technologies developed by companies from U.S. allies. Upon successful completion of tests, the technologies are considered candidates for the U.S. Defense Department’s procurement programs. Roughly 10 technologies are selected for FCT testing every year.

The Arion-SMET’s test will run for three weeks starting in early December to evaluate its technological capabilities, including autonomous driving for transporting supplies on both pre-surveyed routes and unknown areas.

The Arion-SMET is an electric-powered vehicle optimized for aiding manned and unmanned teaming in infantry operations through ammunition transport, casualty evacuation, reconnaissance and close-combat support.

The vehicle can reach a speed of up to 43 kilometers (26.7 miles) per hour and drive 100 kilometers per single charge, with a maximum payload capacity of 550 kilograms (1,213 pounds).

Hanwha Aerospace has previously demonstrated the Arion-SMET’s capabilities at Army Garrison Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi, in November.

“Following the technology demonstrations of the Arion-SMET at the U.S. military base in Korea last year, testing of the Arion-SMET in the United States with the Marine Corps that conducts some of the most intense operations and training was enabled by the U.S. military’s trust on the vehicle and its technologies,” said Seo Young-woo, executive vice president of Hanwha Aerospace.

BY SHIN HA-NEE [shin.hanee@joongang.co.kr]