Support: The Four Hour Robot Repair Guarantee


October 10, 2005: With over 1500 deployed robots in Iraq and Afghanistan, with twice as many in service by the end of the year, the U.S. Army has set up a facility in Baghdad for in-theatre robot repairs. As of September 2005, the facility is averaging around 50 repairs a week (up from 20-30 in the spring) and offers a four hour repair guarantee. If it can't be fixed in four hours, the troops leave with another working robot. All a "customer" has to do is to bring in their broken robot - or in the case of a fatal encounter with an IED, the remains of the robot. Even if the robot isn't fixable, usable parts are scavenged for use in other repairs.

In addition to being blown up, a combination of heat, sand, wind, and rain also can cause problems for robots. At a cost of anywhere from $4500 for the cheapest "Throwbot," to more than $100,000 for a high-end EOD robot, there's a lot of pressure and effort to repair the scarce and always in demand machines as quickly as possible. Two repair shops have crews on-call around the clock, with technicians provided from the Army, Navy, and Marines, as well as some civilian contractors. Spare parts are shipped in to Baghdad via FedEx or DHL. - Doug Mohney.

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