DOK-ING's firefighting and mine clearing systems will be tested and developed in the Alabama Robotics Technology Park
omi Krmpotich doesn't get upset when one of his company's machines is destroyed while on the job.
You see, his company - DOK-ING - builds mine-clearing robots and he prefers one of the M160s be destroyed as opposed to the alternative.
"Better that than a Humvee filled with soldiers," Krmpotich said today.
Krmpotich, company founder/owner Vejekoslav Majetic and officials with DOK-ING and SAIC in Huntsville watched a demonstration of the robot along with a robotic firefighting system the Croatian company builds.
SAIC is a subcontractor with DOK-ING and announced the opening of its facility in the Alabama Robotics & Technology Park where it will provide engineering support and services to DOK-ING.
"We have a real relationship with SAIC," Krmpotich said. "Their services and work are outstanding."
sville and DOK-ING of Croatia presented a demonstration of the robotic M160 mine-clearing system (shown here) and MVF-5 fire-fighting system at the Alabama Robotics & Technology Park near Calhoun Community College in Decatur, Ala. (The Huntsville Times/Glenn Baeske)
SAIC Vice President Engineering and Analysis Operation Tim Massey said his company's work with the Army attracted DOK-ING to SAIC.
"DOK-ING was looking for a company in the states," he said. "And we have a large presence with the Army."
The M160 was first delivered to the U.S. Department of Defense in 2004 and is being used in Afghanistan. It has also been in use for nearly 20 years in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia.
The bulldozer-type vehicle uses whirling hammers and chains on its front to pound the ground to find the mines and other kinds of explosive devices.
"There have been more than 120,000 mines destroyed over 40 million square meters," Krmpotich said. "We can't know how many lives it has saved."
The M160 also can be used to clear brush from trails and can also dig for deeper buried mines.
The two systems are operated remotely from a maximum of 1,000 meters. The operator uses line of sight but there is also a video system of six high resolution and waterproof cameras. One of the cameras is a thermal camera, which allows the vehicle to operate during reduced visibility conditions.
The MVF-5 is a multifunctional robotic firefighting system developed to extinguish fires in life threatening conditions and inaccessible areas. The commercial and homeland security system is marketed in the United States by SAIC.
Equipped with a water cannon that can spray up to 180 feet, the vehicle also has a front-mounted gripper and bulldozer blade. It can lift about 4,400 pounds and rotate 360 degrees to remove objects, such as destroyed vehicles or even suspected car bombs.
The gripper can also penetrate buildings, cut wires and be used as a "jaws of life." The blade can push up to 10 tons of weight, enabling it to clear a path or create an opening to a building.
"We're very proud to work with SAIC," Krmpotich said.
Massey said SAIC's facility at the robotics park will enable it to work more effectively with DOK-ING and create opportunities for students.
"We're grateful for the Alabama Robotics Park," he said. "Our robotics team can use the capabilities here to support DOK-ING and help educate and train students."