Early reports of the demise of Lockheed Martin’s MULE program were exaggerated. The company put out a statement clarifying that the Pentagon killed only the countermine and transport versions of the Multifunctional Utility/Logistics and Equipment (MULE) unmanned ground vehicle program, as it is fondly known.
“The termination order does not affect, and work continues on, the Armed Robotic Vehicle (ARV) variant of the MULE, which accounts for approximately 90 percent of total anticipated MULE production program,” according to a Lockheed Martin spokesman. “Lockheed Martin is obviously disappointed with the decision to discontinue development of the Transport and Countermine MULE vehicles, but appreciates the Army’s recognition of the performance maturity of the program to date, and the Army’s confidence in our ability to deliver the enhanced combat capability the ARV MULE variant brings to the future Warfighter.”
The Army told lawmakers that the MULE “did not meet rapidly changing threats, nor meet the Army’s future mission needs.” Nod to my colleague Roxana Tiron at the Hill, who broke the cancellation story.
The other program killed by the Army, Fire Scout, remains dead, barring congressional intervention. Both systems were part of the Army’s massive Future Combat System, largely cancelled by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in his famous April 6 speech.