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Robotic Mules to Participate in 2014 Rim of the Pacific Exercises

A new diesel iteration of the Legged Squad Support System, or LS3, is turning heads at the Modern Day Marine industry trade show this week. The semi-autonomous four-legged, robotic mule is designed to carry loads of up to 400 pounds and follow a squad of Marines through rugged terrain, while interacting with them intuitively.

3 Legged Squad Support Systems  will take part in RIM PAC next year.

Three Legged Squad Support Systems (LS3) will take part in RIM PAC next year.

The newest diesel variant of LS3 is slightly larger than the two previous prototypes, which have Polaris Engines. It moves more quietly. And while its load-bearing capacity is similar to the previous versions, it’s designed to be easy to fuel along with other, more traditional diesel Marine Corps vehicles.

The LS3 is making its first appearance at Modern Day Marine, said Maj. James Richardson, LCE Branch Head at the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab. But the robotic mule has a busy season ahead of it. It will visit the the Army’s Fort Devens, Mass., Nov. 4-8, where Marines will be trained in how to use it and work with it. Next summer, all three LS3 variants will travel to Hawaii to participate in the Advanced Warfighting Exercise that is part of the Rim of the Pacific 2014 exercise.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/40gECrmuCaU]

U.S. Government Cancels Osprey Landings at Upolu Airport on Big Island and Kalaupapa Airport on Molokai

I’m actually amazed that U.S. Government cancelled the landings!

U.S. Marine Corps parachutists free fall from an MV-22 Osprey at 10,000 feet above the drop zone at Fort A.P. Hill, Va. on Jan. 17, 2000. The Marines from the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C., became the first to deploy from the Osprey. Twenty-four successful jumps were recorded under the supervision of the U.S. Army Operational Test Command and the Marine Corps Systems Command to qualify the V-22 for parachute service. DoD photo by Vernon Pugh, U.S. Navy. (Released)

…Regarding the Hawaiian flights, Ospreys were scheduled to make practice landings at Kalaupapa Airport on the island of Moloka’i, and Upolu Airport on the Hawaiian main island. The U.S. government cancelled the landings, however, due to opposition from local residents plus concerns over noise pollution and potential effects on local heritage sites.

The tilt-rotor aircraft have had a number of high-profile accidents since their introduction to service in 2007, including a fatal April 2012 crash that the U.S. Marine Corps concluded recently was due to pilot error, ruling out mechanical or safety problems.

According to Japan-U.S. diplomatic sources, 24 Ospreys are scheduled for deployment to Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe, O’ahu by 2018. In preparation, in August 2010 the U.S. Department of the Navy began an environmental assessment of the plan as required under the National Environmental Policy Act.

The navy department assessment named Kalaupapa Airport and Upolu Airport as sites for Osprey practice landings. However, local residents and other U.S. government departments came out against holding the training flights at the two sites, pointing to the danger to a National Park Service-designated archeological site near Kalaupapa Airport and the potential for severe noise pollution around Upolu Airport…

More here: Local Opposition Scuttles Hawaiian Osprey Training Flights