Cybernet will leverage their extensive history with robotic system development for munition handling applications to develop an Artillery System Turret Robotic Assist System (ASTRAS) that is capable of supporting turret tasks related to the fire mission to improve the overall rate of fire that can be achieved with current and next generation munitions. Specifically, Cybernet will investigate a process for preparing munitions (such as installing and setting fuzes), moving munitions and charges from the ready rack to the breech, loading the munitions and charges into the breech, and ultimately firing the cannon (or preparing for fire if manual fire process is desired). Cybernet will demonstrate feasibility and develop a design during this Phase I Small Business Innovative Research effort for the Army.
While the main goal of the ASTRAS is to increase the rate of fire for self-propelled howitzers, it will have additional benefits. First, it will decrease solder injuries (including long-term repetitive strain injuries) by removing the need to rapidly lift and move heavy artillery shells. Second, it will increase soldier survivability by reducing the overall number of soldiers in a vehicle and at risk. Third, it will decrease the number of soldiers per vehicle making it possible to field more units without increasing overall force size.