Textron Systems has unveiled a new armored vehicle dubbed the Cottonmouth, which will be offered for the US Marine Corps’ Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV) program.
The company shared video footage of the new vehicle on April 28, saying it was purpose-built for the USMC program that is aiming to find a successor for the Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) currently in service.
Textron says Cottonmouth is equipped with full-spectrum reconnaissance and surveillance sensors, and capable of defeating threats beyond the line of sight. First photos of the vehicle shared by the company showed it with a Kongsberg RS4-J remote weapons station. Other details about the vehicle remain scarce, but the company said it would reveal more over the coming days.
The Marine’s new ARV would replace the LAV, which has been supporting light armored reconnaissance battalions with sustained-reconnaissance, counter-reconnaissance and security missions since the early 1980s. The plans is to begin replacing the LAV at the end of the next decade.
The Office of Naval Research already awarded contracts in 2018 for full-system concept/trade studies, and for individual advanced technology research efforts, with those goals in mind.
A year later, the office awarded contracts for the design, fabrication and testing of full-scale technology-demonstration vehicles.
One vehicle, to be delivered by General Dynamics Land Systems, would incorporate advanced technologies available now, or in the near future around a notional unit price point.
The other, to be delivered by SAIC, is conceptualized as an “at-the-edge” vehicle with advanced technologies that might not be fully mature today but could be incorporated into the ARV as new capabilities, when threats and missions evolve. The objective of this approach is to envision the most advanced technology, beyond current capabilities.
Textron was not among the companies selected for the development of technology-demonstration vehicles, but it is possible it either worked with one of the two selected companies to develop the Cottonmouth or it invested its own funds.
The future ARV is envisioned as providing transformational sensor, communications and combat capabilities to collect and communicate information, while integrating robotics and artificial intelligence technologies in manned-unmanned teams. ARV will enable a crew to sense the operating environment using advanced on-board sensors and unmanned systems in order to detect, recognize and identify threats at extended ranges. Additionally, ARV will provide the warfighter with a survivable, mobile, networked and lethal platform to dominate the battle space.
The service expected to start testing demonstrator platforms by the end of 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic and the new United States Marine Corps Force Design 2030 guidance put a dent in the program schedule.