The US Army has selected two companies with which it will proceed to the next phase of its robotic combat vehicle (RCV) program.
The service said that it intends to award contracts to Textron for the construction of four RCV-medium prototypes and to Qinetiq North America for the construction of RCV-light prototypes, pending successful negotiations.
These prototypes will help the service determine the feasibility of integrating unmanned vehicles into ground combat operations, with the light and medium RCVs set to take part in a company-level experiment at the end of 2021. Additionally, a platoon-level experiment in March this year and several virtual experiments will allow the US Army to make a decision on how to proceed with robotic combat vehicles in 2023.
“Robots have the potential to revolutionize the way we conduct ground combat operations,” Brig. Gen. Ross Coffman, director of the Next Generation Combat Vehicles cross-functional team, said.
“Whether that’s giving increased fire power to a dismounted patrol, breaching an enemy fighting position, or providing [chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive] reconnaissance, we envision these vehicles providing commanders more time and space for decisions and reducing risk to soldiers.”
Other contenders for the RCV-light prototype included HDT Global, Oshkosh and Textron. General Dynamics Land Systems and QinetiQ were in the running for the RCV-medium.