MCLEAN, VA: Canada has become the second NATO ally to deploy Dragon Runner robots in Afghanistan. The deployment was announced at a spring symposium at the Canadian Embassy devoted to conquering IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in Afghanistan. The symposium brought together a group of largely Canadian-based companies working on anti-IED technologies, but also included QinetiQ North America’s Dragon Runner SUGV (small, unmanned ground vehicle).
The June edition of Diplomatic Connections magazine featured detailed coverage of the symposium. “As the assembled audience settled into place,” the magazine reported, “Dragon Runner made its entrance by climbing the front stairs of the embassy, maneuvering through a series of doorways, traveling down the theater aisle, and up the stage steps where it jauntily greeted Canadian Ambassador Gary Dower by waving a Canadian maple leaf flag. In a remarkable demonstration of its dexterity, Dragon Runner used its manipulator arm with a rotating shoulder and wrist as well as opposable grippers to drop a ceremonial hockey puck into the Ambassador’s hand.”
“Dismounted operations prevail in Afghanistan because of the rugged terrain and lack of paved roads,” noted Dr. J.D. Crouch, President of the Technology Solutions Group of QinetiQ North America which develops and manufactures the Dragon Runner. “That means our soldiers and marines need equipment they can carry, and Dragon Runner is ideally suited to these missions.”
Canada is the second NATO country to use Dragon Runner robots to help disarm IEDs in Afghanistan. QinetiQ announced last November that the British Ministry of Defence (MOD), responding to an “urgent operational requirement,” was purchasing almost 100 Dragon Runner robots for use in Afghanistan. They have since been successfully deployed as the UK Ministry of Defence reported last month. It said in a statement: “Countering the threat from IEDs is the top priority in making military progress in the Afghanistan campaign. Dragon Runner, the best remote-controlled bomb disposal robot currently on the market, has been operating in Afghanistan for over a year, adding to the range of other Counter-IED capability.”
QinetiQ North America is an independent, innovative technology provider that earns over a billion dollars in revenue operating with small company speed and agility while leveraging significant global resources. QinetiQ North America is part of QinetiQ Group PLC, one of the world’s leading defense and security technology companies.