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During a Marine Corps Intelligence Activity exercise May 5, the Multi-Utility Tactical Transport, or MUTT, is put through its paces at the Town of Quantico’s Riverside Park and in the Potomac River, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. The unmanned vehicle can carry up to 600 pounds; roll over boulders, sand and debris; and even swim.

Photo by Courtesy Photo

MCIA conducts intelligence collection exercise, tests cutting-edge gear

15 May 2015 | Eve A. Baker Marine Corps Base Quantico

Marine Corps Intelligence Activity and the Joint Captured Materiel Exploitation Center conducted an intelligence collection and analysis exercise May 4-8 with captured foreign materiel and cutting-edge technology. Goals of the exercise included learning how to photograph items in the field for analysis by off-site experts and use modern technology for analysis and collection of foreign materiel, said a representative from the Foreign Materiel Program at MCIA.

Service members from all branches of the U.S. military participated in the exercise, along with various defense contractors and members of the South Korean and Canadian militaries. The exercise included six activity zones around the base where different analysis techniques were practiced.

At the Quantico Marina, Alex Dowell from Teledyne SeaBotix demonstrated the vLBV300, a remotely operated vehicle used for underwater inspection of ships, mine countermeasures and improvised explosive device detection. The device is equipped with both sonar and a camera and is operated by a technician on land. Dowell said the vLBV300 is compatible with a tracked crawling device that can attach to surfaces such as the underwater hull of a ship and can be used to search for explosive devices that may have been covertly attached by hostile forces.

Exercise participants also had the opportunity to see how laser scanning devices can help them develop a more accurate depiction by using foreign materiel imaging in the field. Using the Surphaser scanner, Josh Mills from the National Maritime Intelligence Center created a three-dimensional picture of a training torpedo that participants in a nearby tent were able to view and capture data from. The 3-D image enabled them to determine the torpedo’s dimensions.

Also during the exercise, General Dynamics Land Systems demonstrated the capabilities of the Multi-Utility Tactical Transport, or MUTT. The MUTT is a hybrid electric, 4-wheeled, all-terrain vehicle roughly the size of a large wheelbarrow with a carrying capacity of 600 pounds, said Dan Rodgers, the robotic products program manager for GDLS. It can be used for casualty evacuation, gear transportation and counter-IED missions, among others.

The MUTT can be operated "off-leash" via remote control, or it can be tethered to an operator and will either follow the individual or roll ahead of the operator, depending on which way the operator is walking. It is also amphibious and can be optionally outfitted with tracks. Using the remote control, Rodgers drove the MUTT over large boulders and beach debris along the Potomac River and then out into the water, before bringing it back onto the grass. Rodgers said the MUTT is easy enough to operate that it takes only minutes to learn how to put it to work.