Gladiator flexes its muscle on Camp Smith[MIGRATE]

By Cpl. Luis R. Agostini | June 25, 2003

On day 30 of Operation Real Freedom, a group of approximately 600 belligerent activists, still loyal to their overthrown government, have unlawfully assembled at the bridge on the outskirts of the desert town of Intoit.  The crowd is blocking the main supply route and preventing the delivery of humanitarian aide to the station located in the vicinity of the town square.  Armed with slingshots and other primitive devices, it is anticipated that the crowd will not disperse peacefully.  Individuals armed with AK47s and rocket-propelled grenade launchers have been spotted near the town square within the last hour.

Your mission, on order, is to disperse the crowd in order to open the main supply route with the appropriate application of non-lethal means.  How can you possibly accomplish this mission?

By 2007, if you are serving on any of the seven Marine Expeditionary Units, the Gladiator will pave your way toward a new era of war fighting.
Service members, civilians and local media got a preview of the capabilities of the Gladiator Tactical Unmanned Ground Vehicle during non-lethal employment demonstration at Smith Field here Wednesday.

Hosted by The Marine Forces Pacific Experimentation Center in conjunction with Joint Warrior Interoperability Demonstration, the fictionalized demonstration described above enabled Marines from MCB Hawaii's Military Police Company to operate the Gladiator.

The operator of the Gladiator is equipped with an operator control unit, which fits in a standard All Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment (ALICE) pack.  The unit weighs 20 pounds, and contains a radio, antennas, a computer, batteries, a global pre-positioning system and a handheld controller.

The Gladiator is loaded with all sorts of gadgets and weaponry, including day and night cameras, a chemical detection system, Light Vehicle Obscuration Smoke System, and is mounted with either M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, the M240G Medium Machine Gun, 9 mm Uzi or an Anti-Personnel/Obstacle Breaching System (APOBS).

With dimensions at 70" long, 44" wide and 53" high, and weighing 1,600 pounds, the Gladiator can be transported by air, land and sea, making it very attractive for all of the military branches and special forces.

Once the distribution of the estimated 192 TUGVs begins during 2007, all seven MEUs will receive four TUGVs - three for the ground combat element and one for the combat engineers, said Ray Grundy, non-lethal weapons program manager, Marine Corps Combat Development Command.

During military operations other than war, such as humanitarian aide and peacekeeping, the Gladiator has the potential to perform the duties of an entire rifle company, nearly 160 Marines, said Grundy.

According to Larry Hennebeck, the Gladiator program manager from Marine Corps Systems Command, the Gladiator could have been a crucial tool for troops during Operation Iraqi Freedom, especially during the looting of the museums and the incident when the car bombing killed troops at a checkpoint in Iraq.

"If they blow it up, they blow it up," said Hennebeck, regarding the potential loss of the Gladiator during combat operations.  "At least we don't have to send any letters to the relatives."