Polish Army Acquires Reconnaissance Robots

  • Ekspozycja przed bazą sił powietrznych USA niedaleko Cheyenne w stanie Wyoming. Fot. F. E. Warren US Air Force Base /

The Armament Inspectorate announced that it has signed an agreement with the Industrial Research Institute for Automation and Measurements (PIAP), pertaining to procurement of engineering robots which would provide support within the scope of EOD and IED missions, and in realization of the tasks related to removal of dangerous loads and materials. The programme is known as BALSA - Light Reconnaissance Robot LRR.

According to the provisions of the agreement signed on 18th May 2016, the value of which is defined as PLN 15,634,999.78 (gross), the Polish Industrial Research Institute for Automation and Measurements is expected to supply 53 LRR packages for the Polish Army. The initial examples are to be received by the Army by the end of this year, while the last robot is planned to be supplied in 2018.

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The robot qualified for procurement is based on the Feniks design by the Industrial Research Institute for Automation and Measurements. According to the technical terms of reference contained in the procurement documentation, “Balsa” light reconnaissance robot weighs 15 to 20 kilograms and it is to be carried by a single soldier. The weight is dependent on the additional equipment.  

The robot should have good properties within the scope of mobility, also inside the buildings. The robot package is to include control panel, backpack or other dedicated container, battery charger and the vehicle itself, which is fitted with interchangeable manipulators and sensors. The latter property would make it possible to customize the system, as it is going to execute a wide variety of tasks. The above bundle would be complemented with a tool set, and a set of spare parts, along with the technical documentation. 

LRR is dedicated to carry out reconnaissance operations in urbanized and open areas, the robot is going to be utilized by the engineering units, also for checking vehicles, aircraft and rooms, within the scope of potential presence of dangerous objects and materials, with the use of the applied daytime and night-vision cameras. Optional sensors are capable of detecting trace quantities of explosive materials. The manipulator allows the Balsa robot to uncover the hidden IED, UXO and EFP explosives.

Maximum speed on hard surface is defined as 10 kilometres per hour, the robot is also capable of moving on dirt roads, forest paths or on sand. The remote control system has a range of 500 meters, which facilitates the reconnaissance operations, carried out with the use of the new system. Replaceable batteries make it possible for the system to operate for six hours, without any interruptions.