KAHUKU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - While the Rim of the Pacific exercise makes a splash at sea, on land U. S. Marines are running advanced war fighting experiments with remotely operated equipment. The maneuvers are being done under the guidance of the Marine Corps War Fighting Lab.
"We'll find the capabilities and limitations," said technology officer Lt. Col. Don Gordon.
The most eye-catching robotic device is the four-legged LS3. Marines call it the "cow." It packs gear so that Marines in the field can carry a lighter load. It's being put through its paces at a training site in Kahuku.
"That should be interesting to see how well our squads are able to use that LS3 to off-load their existing equipment and to use that vehicle re-supply themselves," Gordon said.
Marines are also trying out the Ultra Heavy Amphibious Connector or UHAC. The vehicle paddles itself through water and traverses terrain other amphibious vehicles can't cross.
"The UHAC is one of those experimental technologies that we're looking at as a possible concept capability, to look at how we could take our forces in the future and be able to insert them in areas that we wouldn't be able to insert them today," Gordon said.
Lastly, there's the Ground Unmanned Support System or GUSS. Like the LS3 , GUSS operates remotely -- no driver needed.
"The way that it works autonomously will allow the supporting security force that escorts that vehicle to maintain cover as they walk through a woods, while the vehicle stays on a trail, so keeping the Marines preferably out of harm's way, " Gordon said.
During RIMPAC Marines are pushing the limits to see what the equipment is capable of. They'll give the War Fighting Lab feedback.
"Hearing from a Lance Corporal or a Corporal , this is what we need this to do to make this better -- that's gold," Brig. Gen. Kevin Killea said.
It's necessary knowledge since some of the technology may wind up marching on the front lines.