3. Clearance while covered. RADBO's design protects its users while increasing their hit rate, Gates said. Instead of manning a .50-cal weapon, the crew member operating the vehicle's laser is enclosed, lining up his shot with a camera that offers visual- and infrared-spectrum capabilities.
It comes with a targeting laser to help guide the final blast, and it's all operated via an interface that's "nearly identical to the PlayStation 4," Gates said.
4. Redstone research. The RADBO began testing at Redstone in January 2013, Army and Air Force officials said. A recent road-course test put it through 1,000 miles of driving over potholes, rough terrain and other obstacles.
The testing is designed to "make sure the product we built is durable," said Steven Colvin, Prototype Integration Facility manager with the Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center. "Nothing's going to break. Nothing's going to crack."
Gates was quick to point out that operators won't be running and gunning with the laser — the tests were designed to ensure the weapon would work after being knocked around by off-roading. In fact, RADBO's ability to zap without moving may be its strongest selling point.
"Once you have an idea where these targets are ... you can sit in one location and pretty much cook off dozens of these without even having to move the vehicle, without having to get out of the vehicle," Gates said. "I think that'll be a huge savings in time."
5. Other uses? Neither Gates nor Colvin were aware of plans from Army or other services to acquire the vehicle, although both pointed out the need for bomb clearance continues across the military.
"I'm sure that once news of this proliferates more, there will be a lot more interest," Gates said. "The greater safety that it provides our airmen, I'm sure it'll be the same for soldiers and sailors, and folks will be much more interested in using a similar system."
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1 The 75th Ranger Regiment is the US Army’s premier airborn
The rocket launcher, valued for its long range and attack spr