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Maj. Jeremy Howell: Army Increases Planned Budget for 2021 Robotics Programs

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Maj. Jeremy Howell, a U.S. Army officer who serves as deputy robotics branch chief, G-8, said the service's robotics portfolio has grown in terms of budget, with 20 upcoming programs, National Defense Magazine reported Monday.

Howell, at the Joint Armaments, Robotics and Munitions virtual conference, presented the difference between the Army's request of $379 million for fiscal 2021 robotics projects and the $17 million budget in fiscal year 2015.

The Army's robotics projects will focus on situational awareness, soldier workload reduction, maneuverability, force protection and sustainment. The major noted that the Army wants to purchase modular mission payloads that may consist of communications systems, anti-jamming technologies and lethality packs.

Now, the service branch wants to determine how it will facilitate communications across thousands of unmanned aircraft systems and land-based robots on the battlefield.

“The question that we have is, how do we communicate with this vast number of robots so that they are able to be a force multiplier for the commander instead of a distraction?" Howell said.