The UK defense ministry has awarded German military vehicle specialist Rheinmetall a contract for the delivery of another four Mission Master unmanned ground vehicles as part of its robotic platoon vehicle (RPV) program.
The company said the contract was for the second phase of testing that would be undertaken under Spiral 2, a subproject of the broader RPV program.
Rheinmetall delivered the first four Mission Master UGV in the spring of 2020. The company was among a number of participants, including Horiba Mira, Qinetiq, and Marlborough Communications Limited, to deliver robotic vehicles for the testing that will form part of early de-risking work to increase the UK defense ministry’s understanding of the capabilities and limitations of these systems.
The first four vehicles delivered by Rheinmetall showcased how they can boost the firepower and capabilities of dismounted combat troops at platoon level. For the second phase, the UGvs will be equipped with a fire support module to explore potential future capabilities.
Delivery of the additional Mission Masters will take place between May and August 2021, according to the company. Based in the UK, the joint venture company Rheinmetall BAE Systems Land will also be supporting the project.
The Mission Master features an autonomy kit, which comprises a suite of sensors and perception algorithms that assure situational awareness, enabling the vehicle to find the safest route through the surrounding environment. This ensures that the vehicle can navigate challenging terrain safely and complete its mission successfully, without collisions.
The UGV in the fire support version is armed with the Rheinmetall Fieldranger Multi, a 7.62mm cal. remotely controlled weapon station. The company notes that targets are never engaged autonomously, with a human in the loop always present.