The US military had received the light and medium prototypes of robotic combat vehicles (RCV-L and RCV-M) from industry teams in 2021. Once the services received these prototypes, a small team began to work on the prototypes to prepare them for a full company-level assessment in the near future.
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The US military held a large prototyping competition in May 2019 for the development of robotic combat vehicles, which are supposed to give the country an advantage in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The military has selected QinetiQ North America as the winner of the contract to build four RCV-L prototypes and Textron to build four RCV-M prototypes, according to a service release on Jan.9.
“Robots have the potential to revolutionize the way we conduct combat operations on the ground. Whether increasing the firepower of a foot patrol, breaking through an enemy combat position, or providing [chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and explosive] reconnaissance, we are looking at these vehicles providing more time and space for the commander to make decisions and reducing risk to soldiers, ”Brig. General Ross Coffman, director of the Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross-Functional Team (NGCV CFT) had said.
Shortly after the delivery of these prototypes, the soldiers of 3e The infantry division also conducted two weeks of live-fire RCV testing for the combat robot which is expected to run alongside the next-generation combat vehicle, as reported by Army Times.
Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, Soldiers from Fort Benning, Ga., Conducted platoon-level live fire with RCVs at Camp Grayling, Mich., In late April 2021. These tests were first carried out on a platform prototype before the delivery of the actual prototypes by the industrial developers.
During live fire trials, soldiers used remotes behind a berm and located targets using drone video feeds. Once the targets were located, the soldiers struck these enemy vehicles with the automatic weapons of the M249 squad, M2 .50 caliber machine guns, and Mk19 grenade launchers, which were mounted on the replacement for the RCV.
The RCV-L is a diesel-electric hybrid vehicle with a gross weight of approximately 85,000 pounds and a maximum payload of 7,000 pounds. The vehicle can move at a speed as high as 40 miles per hour. The RCV-M is also a diesel-electric hybrid vehicle and has a gross weight of 25,000 pounds. This vehicle can travel at high speeds of over 25 miles per hour and is also equipped with a 30mm cannon that is remotely controlled, Defense News reported.
According to reports, several types of modernized military equipment such as robots, tanks, self-propelled artillery and infantry carriers will all be welcomed by the US military in 2022. Many military experts describe the year ahead. as “the year of the armored vehicle”.
According to the sergeant. General Glenn Dean, director general of the Army Ground Combat Systems Program, the investments the military has made over the past eight to ten years will all kick in in 2022.
In a statement to The National Interest, Dean said the Army will begin fielding the Bradley A4 Infantry Fighting Vehicle at its 8e Brigade. The same brigade will also receive the upgraded Abrams tank.
All of these developments have been observed at a time when the Army has made various breakthroughs in the field of artificial intelligence-based networking and data processing and sharing as well as in reducing the time between sensor and shooter.
The Mobile Protected FirePower platform, which is the army’s light tank, is also taking a huge step forward as the service began making selections for its next phase.
Apart from these, the military is also set to receive its first improved version of the self-propelled howitzer 155mm artillery cannon. The Army has also made steady progress in the development of its optionally manned combat vehicle. The service awarded various development contracts to defense contractors to provide architectural designs for the new infantry aircraft carrier.
The military is focusing more on aspects of digital engineering and computer simulations that are expected to form the conceptual and technological basis of the service’s first crewed combat vehicle.
Each of these advanced military equipment is developed with a unique set of requirements in mind and has a specific mission to accomplish. Many of these new combat vehicles are developed to operate on a multi-domain battlefield which is an integral part of modern warfare and the specifics of surveillance and targeting of exchanges with fighter jets, drones, dismounted units. and also Navy ships, according to The National Interest.
“We need armored vehicles on the battlefield,” Major General Ross Coffman told The National Interest. “We need them in really, really dangerous places. And ’22 is going to launch the United States above any other country in the world based on the efforts we are making today across the team, ”he added.