Advance Army Robotic Combat Vehicle

Advance Army Robotic Combat Vehicle

Advance Army Robotic Combat Vehicle

QinetiQ Pictures

Novi, Michigan – The Army’s efforts to introduce a robotic combat vehicle have completed a major pilot phase for soldiers, and the team behind the Phase II prototype is looking forward to the next phase of competition for the RCV-Light model.

QinetiQ US and Pratt Miller Engineering collaborated in 2020 to combine the robotic capabilities of previous modular open systems engineering with the latest exploratory modular autonomous vehicle platform to compete for the RCV-L program.

Robert Mawson, senior director of business development for QinetiQ, Land Systems, said QinetiQ US was competing for the Army’s Small Multi-Purpose Equipment Transportation Program, but the vehicle platform it was using was not satisfactory. So, when RCV started moving forward, the company switched to the Pratt Miller platform.

“It really has been mobility and how modular it is,” he said at the Ground Vehicle Systems Engineering and Technology Symposium in August. “With this flat deck, you can connect and operate different payloads when needed, depending on the mission profile or set of capabilities you need.”

The Army selected the QinetiQ/Pratt Miller vehicle as an alternative prototype for operational testing to develop specific open competition requirements in late fiscal year 2023.

The base platform is a diesel-electric hybrid weighing just over 10 tons, with a payload capacity of 3.5 tons. The platform can go up to 40 mph and can be outfitted with an array of remotely operated weapons and sensors, according to a QinetiQ release.

“Depending on the payload and standard mission load you put on it, there should always be a soldier in the ring,” said Mawson.

“Therefore, it will never really be fully independent,” he continued. “You have to raise the level of autonomy depending on the task you’re doing, so that it can go everywhere from a real remote to a semi-autonomous.”

He said soldiers in a control vehicle would move behind several RCVs and provide input on how to maneuver around obstacles or how to respond to a call.

As representatives of Pratt Miller and QinetiQ attended the seminar organized by the Michigan chapter of the National Defense Industrial Association, their model cars were in the blazing sun in Fort Hood, Texas, during the final days of a month-long soldier’s work. an experience.

The experiment was described as the “largest ground robotic experiment in history” in an Army news article on August 17, where soldiers prototyped the QinetiQ/Pratt Miller RCV-L and Textron RCV-Medium through “reconnaissance and security missions against” a nearby-opposing force. Counterpart to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the platforms. This trial is part of the second phase of the development process that will see the launch of robotic vehicles in 2028.

“The tests went well,” said Mawson. “We get some really good feedback… from contact points from soldiers in the field about what needs improvement and what can be improved.”

The military is taking data collected during the trial to improve the requirements that will be entered into the RFP for the next phase of the program. That document should come out later this year, Mawson said, after which the industry will have several months to provide feedback before finalizing the application.

“We’ve heard some requirements that there could be as far as whether there’s some kind of wet-gap traversal or an amphibious-type capability,” he said. “We know signature management is going to be important, so we’re looking at different ways to get that potential.”

Overall, the requirements the military was seeking for the program were reasonable, and the industry had ample opportunity to inform the government of what’s possible with current technology, he said.

“There were only a few requirements…that seemed very extreme, but in general, they really understood what was ripe and what was not,” he said.

Threads: Army News, Combat Vehicles, Robots

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