Remotec, a Northrop Grumman subsidiary, has been awarded a contract by the US Navy to repair and upgrade 103 Mk3 series remote ordnance neutralisation systems (RONS), which will boost the potential and availability of explosive ordnance disposal robots.

Awarded by the Naval Surface Warfare Centre, Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division, Indian Head, Maryland, the value of the IDIQ contract could reach $12m if all options are exercised.

"The RONS robotic system offers army and Marine Corps explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams with safe and secure site access."

The RONS IDIQ contract includes the provision of depot-level repair support, modernisation of the Mk3 Mod 0 and Mod 1 version systems, as well as the implementation of government-approved configuration management conversions and engineering improvements.

The contract also offers the US Navy an option to buy a new RONS robot under a separate agreement if upgrades or overhauls are not cost-effective.

Northrop Grumman Remotec director James Heverin said: "Remotec is pleased to build upon the relationship we have had with the navy since 1988 and [is] proud to continue providing unmanned ground vehicle capabilities that keep our military bomb techs safe.

"The RCT and RONS story is an excellent example of how the partnership between government and industry can leverage the government investment in systems while providing new capabilities to users."

The RONS robotic system offers army and Marine Corps explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams with safe and secure site access. It also executes missions, including reconnaissance, diagnosis, render-safe procedures and the disposal of ordnance and improvised explosive devices.

Capable of being controlled through a fibre-optic cable or radio, the system integrates a chassis with articulators and wheels for improved mobility, a powerful manipulator, five cameras and an operator control unit.

Heverin added: "As we plan for the next-generation of military EOD robots, we can continue to provide RONS with new capabilities to meet evolving threats well into the future.

"Without a doubt, everyone’s aim is ensuring our bomb techs have the best equipment possible to keep danger at a distance."

The navy’s Indian Head facility is responsible for the development and procurement of EOD equipment to meet joint service needs.

Defence Technology