By Daily Mail .com
A Maine company that’s developed high-tech tanks for the military and Hollywood has a new contraption – a ballistic police shield that sits atop a miniature, remote-controlled tank-like vehicle made to protect first responders.
Twin brothers Mike and Geoff Howe said Thursday the ‘SWAT robot’ keeps SWAT teams and other first responders safe while approaching buildings during potentially dangerous standoffs or confronting armed suspects.
It also can shield police and the public from explosive devices, like the ones set off during the 2013 Boston Marathon here in the US, killing three people and injuring more than 170.
(See in the SWAT-BOT in Action, courtesy of Howe & Howe and YouTube)
The company, Howe and Howe Technologies Inc. of Waterboro, developed the machine with Massachusetts State Police.
Sanford Police Chief Thomas Connolly, who heads a regional tactical police squad that has trained with the device, said the robot can be a valuable tool for police in dangerous situations.
‘It can provide police with a huge tactical advantage,’ he said.
Police nationwide regularly find themselves dealing with standoffs and kidnappings.
(SWAT-BOT is a tracked SRT mobile ballistic shield and entry all terrain robot that allows operators a safer more protected stand off. The SWAT-BOT also offers more effective defensive and offensive capabilities in the active shooter scenarios. Courtesy of Howe & Howe and YouTube)
Levels of protection: A team of police line up behind a pair of hand-held bulletproof shields, showing the relative lack of protection compared to a SWAT robot, right, during a demonstration
Gwinnett County Cpl. Jake Smith said the SWAT robot looks like it would be useful as a safe way to approach a barricaded person. But he didn’t know how cost-effective the $98,000 price tag would be.
Robots are nothing new in law enforcement.
Bomb squads use remote-controlled robots to locate and defuse explosive devices. Camera-equipped robots are used for surveillance to keep officers out of harm’s way.
Police have been known to use robots with articulated arms to lift police shields in front of windows of houses to shield officers from gunshots fired from inside the home, said Corey Luby, of the National Tactical Officers Association, a Doylestown, Pa., organization representing patrol and special operations officers.
Police also use armored vehicles as shields to get close when hostages are being held or a suspect is barricaded inside a structure, he said.
But the SWAT robot, dubbed the ‘SWAT-BOT,’ is the first robotic device Luby has seen that’s designed for specifically for ballistic shield purposes.
‘It’s another life-saving tool,’ Luby said. ‘I’d rather see a robot get hurt than a person.’
A team of officers from the Southern Maine Response Team tactical squad demonstrated a mock drill showing how the robot works, with six officers walking behind the mobile bulletproof shield while approaching someone playing the role of an armed suspect.
The machine also has attachments that allow it to knock down doors or drag away cars.
The technology behind the robot is the same used for the company’s unmanned tanks used by the U.S. Army and its remote-controlled firefighting robots.
Additionally, it built a tank that’s featured in ‘G.I. Joe,’ a movie starring Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis.
No one has bought a SWAT robot yet. But it also has been tested by members of the Massachusetts State Police and the Portland Police Department.
‘We need them to tell us what’s right and what’s wrong,’ Mike Howe said of the agencies.
Complete with a folding armor wall able to protect up to 12 advancing operators, the SWAT-BOT also can be used for door breaching and removal of obstructions such as other vehicles.
From the delivery of a hostage negotiating phone to blasting in a door to protecting officers in the line of fire, SWAT-BOT delivers the world’s first comprehensive robotic protection packages to its users.
SWAT-Bot is the world’s first mid sized robot designed solely for SWAT/SERT applications.
It serves as a robotic ballistic shield, door breacher and vehicle/debris remover when the environment is deemed unsafe.
The Robotic Ballistic Shield (RBS1) or “Swat Bot” concept was created in coordination with the Massachusetts State Police.
It utilizes the RS1 base platform, a collapsible ballistics shield, and a hardened AR400 steel nose shield to protect those in the line of fire.
Standard procedures for approaching a hostile environment means utilizing a shield barely larger than the human torso for protection.
The “SWAT Bot” offers the operator and team adequate cover from hailing gunfire and explosive scenarios.
RS1-RBS1: Robotic Ballistic Shield Specifications
- Collapsible for easy transport
- Remote controlled platform
- Integrated 5000lb winch
- Integrated Class III receiver
- Integrated ballistic vision blocks
- Additional Options Available:
- Integrated storage cage
- Door entry ram
- HD Video Optics
- Designed to traverse the most rugged of terrain
- Durability to withstand challenges other robots this size would not be able to endure
- Constructed of A440f steel, aircraft grade aluminum , and high quality components
- Start up of full robotic functions in 5 seconds, significantly lowering response times
- 100% handcrafted in the USA and draws upon years of robotic research
- Dimensions Stowed: 72” L x 41” W x 47” H
- Dimensions Expanded: 72” L x 97” W x 80” H
- Weight: 2290 lbs
- Draw bar pull: 1270lbs on asphalt, 1040lbs on concrete
- 25hp Diesel Engine
Each RS1-RBS1: Robotic Ballistic Shield can be customized for specific applications.
For further information on the RS1-RBS1: Robotic Ballistic Shield go to http://www.howeandhowe.com/rs1-rbs1-robotic-ballistic-shield.html or call 207.247.2777.