LONDON, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Britain's Defense Secretary Michael Fallon announced a 73 million U.S. dollar-contract Wednesday for an army of bomb disposal robots.
Fallon told the Defense and Security Equipment International (DSEI) Exhibition in London that the deal had been inked for 56 robots.
In a keynote speech, Fallon said the robots will be purchased by the Ministry of Defense (MOD) from U.S. robotics manufacturer Harris for use by the British Army.
Fallon outlined in his speech how the Harris T7 robots use "advanced haptic feedback" to allow operators to "feel" their way through the intricate process of disarming from a safe distance, protecting personnel from threats such as roadside bombs.
Fallon said: "With our rising defense budget, we are investing in the latest equipment for our armed forces to tackle the growing threats we face. These state-of-the-art bomb disposal robots will be powerful and reliable companions to our troops on the battlefield, keeping them safe so they can help keep us safe.
"Robots will never replace humans.It takes a soldier to search a house, calm a villager, win hearts and minds in a war zone. But we're letting the machines take the load so people can get on with hard work of saving lives."
The MOD said the robots will be equipped with high-definition cameras, lightning-fast datalinks, an adjustable manipulation arm and tough all-terrain treads to enable them to neutralise a wide range of threats.
"The haptic feedback function is designed to provide operators with human-like dexterity while they operate the robot's arm using the remote control handgrip," said the MOD.
The announcement comes after a competition between the world's leading manufacturers, organised by the MOD, with all of the new robots due to be delivered and in service by December 2020.
CEO for Defense Equipment and Support, the MOD's procurement organisation, Tony Douglas said: "This contract has been designed to deliver future-proof, world-leading technology."
The ongoing event in London has attracted 141 international delegates from 60 countries and regions.
DSEI showcases British business and innovation across security and defense.