armor of the Rook instead of a little
shield,” Mitchell said.
The ram also is equipped with four
low-light video cameras and one infra-red forward view camera recessed into
the end — one on each side and one
in front — giving the operator a 360°
view of the breaching area. The video
images are transmitted to the viewing
screen inside the cab with the operator
and can be viewed remotely as well.
The vehicle extraction tool (VET)
attachment can be used to push or
pull a parked vehicle, pick up the
car completely and move it to a safe
location, or can lift the front or rear
end of an occupied vehicle to render
it immobile, Mitchell said.
Mitchell said one of the Rook’s key
attachments is the armored deployment platform, which is designed to
allow officers to approach a structure without crossing open, exposed
ground on foot. The custom-built NIJ
Level IV platform includes sloping partial roof cover, and floor-to-roof front
shield consisting of sliding center door
and batwing doors on the outer edges,
plus independent power for two lights.
He said the Rook, which incorporates dual joystick controls, is simple
to operate, another plus in stressful
and dangerous situations.
The current Rook is the third iteration of the machine that had gone
through a few modifications after Ring
received feedback from operators.
One change was how the cab was
manufactured, Mitchell said.
He said the first few Rooks had cabs
that were welded together and placed
on the frame. That meant that if a part
of the cab was damaged, the whole
cab needed to be replaced, so Ring
made the cab design more modular.
“If you damage one part of it, you
can replace that part of it and not the
whole thing,” Mitchell said.
The Rook is the only product to come
from Ring’s Tactical Solutions Group so
far and until now the eight machines in
the field have been deployed in non-military applications. Mitchell said
military applications are a possibility
because of the Rook’s smaller footprint,
the fact that it can tackle diverse tasks
and be controlled remotely. He also said
more than 50 law enforcement agencies have contacted Ring to learn more
about the machine, which was named
the Rook because of its resemblance to
a key board-game piece.
“The Rook name basically came
from chess — because when it shows
up, it’s checkmate,” Mitchell said. dp
The Rook’s armored deployment platform includes two 5 in. x 9 in. sliding gun
ports, four bulletproof glass sight ports
and video cameras attached to the front
of the platform.
The platform provides room for up
to five fully outfitted officers and is
equipped with four gun ports, four bulletproof glass sight ports, and video
cameras attached to the front of the
platform with video feed to the equipment operator.
When the platform is mounted on the
Rook, the operator can raise it to 11 ft.
so that entry can be made on both first
and second floors. In a vehicle takedown, the platform can also be slanted
downward so shots can be fired into a
car without endangering pedestrians
or other passersby. With the attached
rear platform lowered, three additional
officers can be carried to the scene
more safely than stacking behind a
hand-carried ballistic shield, he said.
The grapple claw and bucket attachment has 4500 lb. of lifting capacity and can be used to remove fortified
doors, burglar bars or exterior shrubbery to simplify access for officers.
The grapple claw also aids in disaster
relief efforts with the ability to remove
debris from streets for emergency
responders’ access, he said.
Mitchell said another benefit of the
Rook is that, unlike an armored vehicle, the Rook can be used during
“The neat thing about this machine
is that all kinds of attachments can
go on it,” he said. “One department
is using it with a snowblower. The
Rook can grade their gravel, blow their
snow — they can do all these different
things so the machine’s not just sitting
there waiting for a call.”
The Rook’s vehicle extraction tool can be used to push or pull a parked vehicle or even
pick up a vehicle and remove it.