Lockheed MULE Still Kicking

Lockheed MULE Still Kicking

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.

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Why did they cancel the Transport and countermine versions? If anything I would think they have not just future needs in mind, but are applicable to today’s Afghani battlefield!

Its not suprising it was canned. If you saw how the actual design evolved, it was never going to work. It grew massively in weight, complexity and cost. Not only that it wasn.t even good off road nor was amphibious. This truely was an over-priced under-performing toy if you ever saw one.

Of all of the variants I figured the ammo carrier version would be the most successful. And isn’t the Fire Scout still in development by the US Navy?

I think the Navy UAV-helo is called something else. As for the transport MULE, my peers were concerned with taking this thing around Afghanistan and having to keep it maintained and fueled while out on a patrol. Lightening the load of a platoon of dismounts is a noble cause, but not if the solution comes with its own list of logistics concerns.

The Navy UAV helo program is also called Fire Scout and remains in progress. Same airframe, different systems for the Army version.

In the picture, the front tire is flat.

I think these Lockheed MULE are usefull in Aghanistan and Pakistan border against the fight on Terrorism. These Lockheed MULEs should be on the front row from our cougar, tanks, etc on the battlefield. Send 1 thousand of em to fight the Afghan and Pakistan Taliban and Al-quida in Afghanistan.

The Army Fire Scout cancellation was titled cancellation for convience. The Army Fire Scout in its current configuration is flying and ready to do missions as it is currently doing for the US Navy. There are no fixed wing equivalent to fulfill the mission Fire Scout was to fill, and the Class I UAV that was kept has a limited envelope and time to work in. The Aghanistan and Pakistan region are ideally suited for both the MULE and Fire Scout, but apparently the military personnel lives saved by using unmanned systems isn’t worth the cost of finishing of these programs that are sucessfully conducting demonstrations now.

Good eye!

I was a tanker, not light infantry, but I’ve known a lot of guys in those kind of units and I’m pretty confident that this would be one of the first things that would get left in the FOB for any kind of dismounted patrol.

Most of my coworkers are light infantry and they cringe at the thought of having to babysit this thing in some faraway corner of Afghanistan while they’re on a dismounted patrol. It has to be protected, fueled, and someone has to man the joystick to drive it.

Looks like this would be a good Los Angeles Traffic Assault vehicle.….….…..GM jest don’t make’em like they used to.

Sorry, but you can’t have two contradictory thoughts and still keep that opinion, besides I heard I was being deported and possibly executed. And this from the guys that say I have “connections.” Not like John Gotti, Jr.

This is a logistical nightmare for unmounted troops in mountain terrain, troops that may have to be resupplied by air only. Wheels are great for speed, but they cannot traverse a mountain trail that is slick with dew,rain or snow. Even hybrid technology cannot produce the range needed to make such a vehicle practical, nor can this hope to posses enough AI in the near future to be autonimus enough to not require constant babysitting. If one were to overcome all these issues, another arises-if all your gear for the trip is in this thing, how fubar are you if someone blows it all to hell with one RPG round — HMMM. That reality check makes Lamas look a lot better huh. LOL

A true answer for this need could only be provided by a Thorium reactor powered bipedal/quadripedal carrier. Spec would require reactor to be failsafe pebblebed with solid state JTEC converter to power supersynflesh actuators with continuous feedback loop. Sub frame would consist of aluminum/scandiam alloy paired with Toughmet 3 sealed joints. Sub frame would support external exoskeleton of composite prestressed Spectra-fluidic armor carrier w/ al-mag-boron armor inserts. External weapons hardpoints would allow mounting of minigun,chaingun and or hydra APKWS missle pack. Needed electronic hardware/software for bipedail/quadripedal movment would require R&D, but targeting hardware/software would be of the shelf.
Anybody know who makes one of these, well I guess its back to the lamas.

It needed a realistic power supply and maintenance cargo truck/ tanks (buffalo type vehicle) or camp or maintenance station to maintain and resuplying power to these robots. Best power source I can think of for these robots are long life rechargable litium batery to be its power source. With solar side or rear body to give it a long life power. I would also recomend to have it have fast and string engine for fast manuerability and long transport. And a camouflage body for its invinsibility.

And it has to have a satelitte frequency to communicate/ control these robots for far distance coverage with secured control frequency.

A better answer maybe a trained pack animal (lama, burro, mule, pony, hourse, and/or dog). They can traverse a mountain trail that is slick with dew, rain or snow. If you need them to pull more weight than a pack you can have them pull a cart.

Ok, now that’s funnier than hell.……lol.

Don’t forget it’s net centric full spectrum day/night army/navy N-1 interoperable data network providing a full array of more hollow promises/miracles to one day deliver omniscience to the battlefield!

If they wouldn’t burden our troops down with gear they dont need to be packing on patrols to start with they wouldn’t have to worry about garbage like this. The only thing you need to carry on a patrol is your weapon, ammo, water and food. You dont need to carry extra clothes, shelters, and numerous other items they require our guys to tote. SPECOPS guys go out for extended patrols and recons without all this trash and the remainder of the military can do it just as easily and many wish to. Truth is that a lot of this is from officers who don’t feel they should have to hump their own gear the way the grunts do. All of this robotic stuff is worthless.

The military has become too gadget dependent as it is. We proved to them many a time of how easy it is to overcome gadgets with old school common sense over and over. Their response was always that our enemies are not as well trained as we were and would not be able to overcome the toys like we did. OK then how come the goat farmers in afghanistan are doing the same thing then. There is a place for better technoligy in aircraft, tanks, and ship weapon systems. But the ground forces only need a good rifle, ammo, knife, compass, and boots.

The military upper echelon needs to listen to its NCO’s. One truly ridiculous thing that has happened is now days they will drive directly into a village or neghborhood before dismounting. Old school would travel to the outskirts, dismount, recon and clear before bring up the vehicles. This rarely happens any more because it takes too long and is too hot (especialy when an officer is involved in an op). If they had stayed to the tried and proven old school ways there would not be such a need for armoured transports, armoured body suits and vest’s that are being forced upon our guys.

Rather than all this gadgetry what we need to be concentrating on for the ground forces is geographical responsibilty. Most all the other regions of the world have mountainous terrain yet we only have the tenth mountain div. what is up with that? The MARINES have a mountain school but no designated unit responsibility. We need multiple mt divs — desert war divs — artic war divs — and jungle warfare divs. They need the specialized training and equipment for what they do, not one common piece of gear for all. The RANGERS and SPECOPS units should be increased and continue to be cross trained and used for what they are supposed to be, behind the lines strike units and not as point men, security and recon for regular units. Personnel should be moved around to the various types of geographic units instead of being allowed to homestead with one unit all thier career so that they can continue to learn new skills while applying old ones. There are a lot better ways to spend tax payer funds than on gadgets.

Who’s kidding, everything I put in this preposal exists today ( check it out). Besides, the boys at DARPA have to have somthing to jerk off to.
I think I’ll present this to my Senator to take to the appropriations commitee. Oh crap, I’ve got no chance, my guys last name isn’t Murtha. Maybe I should just take up Lama ranching!!!!

When I was a teen and visited the local library to look over Jane’s Fighting Ships (mainly WW2 stuff), I’d also see a book about all the gooney birds that the Pentagon funded during WW2. A lot of people had some crazy ideas back then, and the government spent lots of money of all kinds of stuff that never went operational. MULE — I see that nothing has changed. You’d think the adults in the Pentagon, knowing the troops in the field don’t want these kinds of costly and stupid toys, would have better uses for the money — like better body armor for the ground pounder, who actually wins the battles. Robots only win battles in the movies.

And at the same time Senior NCO’s need to stop being worrying so much about their own careers and start speaking up, instead of buckling under the officers and suppressing the junior NCO’s.… they are the ones that are actually more apt to voice their concerns and gripes.

Trophy, unfortunately you are somewhat right because thier are a lot of spineless senior NCO’s out there. But that is due to the fact that just like the Fort Hood terrorist that never should have been promoted or allowed to stay in the Army. Brass feels it’s thier job to promote people to make themselves look better for doing so, the more personnel in thier unit promoted the higher they are ranked on thier marks. Ive seen it too many times, You would not believe or maybe you will the number of E7 through E9’s that are not welcomed — respected — by thier peers because they are so incompetent. And once this becomes obvious most CO’s are affraid to try and kick them out so they get them promoted again so they can transfer them just as they do with officers. If your an E6 or below and mess up your a gonner, if your an E7 and up or an officer your gonna get promoted. The whole system sucks and needs an overhaul.

I think you may find that the right front tire was actually cut off when the photo was cropped for printing.

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