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US Army Begins Clearing Operations for Fort Bragg Aerial Gunnery Range; Bob Selfridge Comments

Army-RoboticsThe U.S. Army Engineering and Support Center has begun to clear a Fort Bragg, North Carolina-based site of vegetation for a planned aerial gunnery range in the area.

Technicians at a vehicle-mounted mobile command center used video game controllers to remotely maneuver the camera-equipped forestry equipment, the Army said Sept. 9.

Bob Selfridge, Huntsville Center chief geophysicist and robotics technical lead for the vegetation clearance program, said the robotic range clearance process is meant to keep the technicians safe from unexploded ordnance in the site.

“Because of the potential risks associated with UXOs in the ground, removing the trees, shrubs and woody vines from the range target areas is a daunting task,” Selfridge said.

“Our solution is to utilize remotely operated forestry mulchers, tree shears and feller bunchers to do the job,” he added.

Construction of the live-fire aerial range is set to begin in December 2016.

Selfridge said his team has worked with a group of Applied Research Associates Inc., QinetiQ North America and Explosive Ordnance Technologies Inc. for the project.

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