News Article

iRobot receives $12.7M U.S. Army order
Date: Jun 04, 2012
Author: Don Seiffert
Source: Mass High Tech ( click here to go to the source)

Featured firm in this article: iRobot Corporation of Bedford, MA

Despite predictions of a decline in military revenue this year, iRobot Corp. (Nasdaq: IRBT) has announced its second order from the U.S. Army in the past week - this time a $12.6 million contract for 68 portable robots used to gather information in the field, as well as spare parts.

Monday's announcement for the Bedford-based company's model 310 SUGV robots and spares kits comes less that a week after a May 29 announcement of a $6 million order for spare parts for iRobot 510 PackBot robots, including operator control units, manipulator arms and radios. The 30-pound 310 SUGV is a smaller and lighter version of the 60-pound PackBot, and better to be carried around on foot in terrain that's too rough for vehicles, according to Tim Trainer, interim general manager of iRobot's Defense and Security business unit.

Trainer said the two recent Army orders do not alter the company's expectations, announced earlier this year, of lower revenues due to defense and security. He said that the slowdown is being caused by the fact that the federal budget submitted by President Barack Obama in February has not yet been signed. The slow withdrawal of troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan, on the other hand, is not expected to affect iRobot's military robot orders until at least 2014, he said.

In addition to the two announcements of PackBot and SUGV robot orders, which, combined total $18.6 million, in March the company received a $1.5 million order, funded by the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization, for more than 100 of the company's model 110 FirstLook robots, a 5-pound, throwable robot geared towards infantry and special operations missions.

Trainer said the company has an ongoing development contract with the U.S. Army for its XM 1216 robots worth $20 million, as well as another contract worth about $11 million.

To date, 138 of the 310 SUGV robots and spares kits have been delivered under a contract which runs through September 2015, bringing its total current value to approximately $24 million. The company says it has delivered more than 3,500 PackBot robots and more than 4,500 UGVs overall (including SUGV, FirstLook and Warrior robots).