The US Navy has awarded a $13.5m contract to the autonomous robots manufacturer iRobot for the provision of explosive detection robots to the navy’s Naval Sea Systems Command.

The robots will help naval technicians to detect and disable explosive devices from safe distances.

The robot selected is the PackBot MTRS (man-transportable robotic system) a system similar to the PackBot 500 robot, 2,500 of which are already in use by the military.

Under the contract, the company will supply robots, spare parts, accessories, engineering enhancements, training and repair services.

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Work under the contract is expected to be complete by July 2010.