Industrial technology company FLIR Systems has secured an order to supply nearly 200 of its Centaur unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) and spares to the US Air Force (USAF).

The company won the $23m contract through the US Department of Defense’s Man Transportable Robotic System Increment II (MTRS Inc II) programme.

The order for FLIR Systems’s medium-weight ground robots will give USAF teams the same unmanned platform that the company is set to provide to the US Army.

FLIR Systems Government and Defense business unit president David Ray said: “Centaur gives operators a highly versatile, man-transportable UGV that helps saves lives by keeping humans away from danger.

“We’re pleased the airforce has chosen Centaur as its mid-sized robot solution and that the MTRS Inc II programme can serve as an efficient procurement vehicle.”

The army selected the company’s Endeavor Robotics business in 2017 as its medium-sized robot provider for MTRS Inc II.

FLIR Systems created the Centaur UGV as its MTRS Inc II solution. It started deliveries of the units to the US Army under a multi-year programme valued at up to $158m.

Centaur will be used by USAF Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) teams to assist in disarming improvised explosive devices (IEDs), unexploded ordnance and similar hazardous tasks.

A range of other sensors and payloads can be added to these UGVs to support other missions.

The remotely operated, medium-sized UGV system Centaur weighs approximately 160lb. It provides a capability to detect, confirm, identify and dispose of hazards.

It is an open-architecture robot and features an advanced EO/IR camera suite. Its manipulator arm can reach more than 6ft. The modular payloads of the system can be used for CBRNE detection, as well as other missions.

Shipments of the Centaur UGVs to the USAF are expected to commence in the second quarter of this year.