Deployed since April 2010 in Afghanistan, but only just announced, Talisman is the Army’s latest weapon to help counter the threat posed by Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and mines. Delivered as an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) collectively worth more than £180m ($272M), Talisman is a suite of vehicles that provide an integrated route proving and clearance capability that is operated by the Royal Engineers. Much of the work on the Thales led Talisman project has been done and delivered by UK companies. Each Talisman system, in addition to having Talon units, comprises a variety of other vehicles including the Mastiff Protected Patrol Vehicle; a Buffalo Mine Protected Vehicle with a manipulator arm; a JCB High Mobility Engineer Excavator; and a T-Hawk Micro Air Vehicle.
This is the first order the MOD has placed for QinetiQ’s larger battle proven Talon robots and they now join the 100 Dragon Runners robots announced and delivered into theatre last year by QinetiQ for Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) and ordnance disposal operations. The order for Talons also includes training, spares and a support package.
“We are delighted that our Talon robots are now in use with the MOD and helping to save lives,” stated Neville Salkeld, MD for QinetiQ’s UK Technology Solutions Group. “Talon robots already have an excellent and proven record with US forces with over 3000 units having been supplied. Many are in constant use in-theatre and are supported by a rapid in theatre repair service which because of the systems’ robust modular design means a damaged unit can often be returned to operational status within just a few hours.”
“Talisman will improve our ability to manage the IED and mine threat with the system’s primary mission being to protect vehicle convoys delivering supplies to Forward Operating Bases,” added Patrick Beazley, Head of Combat Wheels Group at Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S). “It has been designed as a flexible manoeuvre support capability that can be quickly re-tasked and rearranged to meet different missions, operating independently or alongside other bomb disposal systems dependent on the threat. Talisman is now part of a wide range of tools, techniques and tactics we have to help mitigate the risk to our forces from the threat of IEDs.”