Rheinmetall Defence unveiled its Wiesel Wingman autonomous combat vehicle concept for the U.S. Army’s Robotic Combat Vehicle – Light (RCV-L) program at the AUSA 2019 Exposition in Washington D.C. on Oct. 14.
At the show, the company displayed a Wiesel/Weasel fighting vehicle, the platform that forms the basis for the Wiesel Wingman concept.
The Wiesel Wingman brings together capabilities of Rheinmetall’s Wiesel Digital, a fully digitalized version of
the Wiesel that has been refined over the past years, and the Mission Master unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) platforms. This includes the full digitalization of the vehicle and the replacement of all mechanical and hydraulic transmission elements with a digitized transmission.
In addition, the Wiesel Wingman is equipped with Drive by Wire (DbW) system with triple redundancy. This DbW system has gone through rigorous testing, making the Wiesel Wingman the very first armored tracked vehicle certified for on-road use with DbW.
The vehicle retains the high mobility found in existing variants of the Wiesel, with a top speed of 43mph and excellent maneuverability on various terrain due to its low GVW and low ground pressure.
The Wiesel Wingman armored hull protects all critical components against fragmentation and small arms fire. The vehicle can be equipped with a variety of systems; for the RCV-L the Wiesel Wingman includes a CROWS-J; other lethal variants are also possible, based on the payload capability of the Wiesel chassis. The vehicle has outstanding reconnaissance capabilities due to its superior mobility and its integrated tethered drone, which highly increases its surveillance and target identification capabilities.
The vehicle can be air-transported in a CH-47 Chinook or a CH-53 Stallion helicopter as an internal or external load. Two of the vehicles can easily fit into a C-130 Hercules tactical airlifter.
This vehicle has been tested and proven during various exercises and trials by the US and German Army.
The Mission Master UGV, developed by Rheinmetall Canada, contributes its autonomous technologies to the Wiesel Wingman platform. This provides the Wiesel Wingman with a tried and true suite of sensors, universal platform control and navigation software. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) kit enables the vehicle to conduct semi-autonomous and autonomous operations, from remote-controlled steering to leader-follower operation and waypoint navigation. Obstacle avoidance, operation in environments lacking GPS and remote sensor/effector control make the Wiesel Wingman smartest, most robust vehicle in its class. Its open software architecture and the sizable internal volume provides the US Army with significant growth potential for future technology.
Rheinmetall Canada’s Mission Master UGV will be on display along with the Wiesel at AUSA, in both cargo and protection (armed) configurations. The Mission Master platform is a world-leading autonomously operating UGV showcasing Rheinmetall’s advanced developments in autonomous combat vehicle operating capabilities. The Mission Master features all-terrain and amphibious mobility, as well as silent drive mode. It can operate autonomously or semi-autonomously.
In addition to a flexible storage system, the Mission Master – Cargo can be fitted to suit both high and low profile operations. Its robust design can shoulder over a half-ton payload of supplies, equipment, and materials.
The Mission Master – Protection will feature the unique Rheinmetall Fieldranger Multi weapon station, armed with a 70 mm rocket launcher from Thales that recently demonstrated the ability to fire a salvo of 14 rockets, delivering 60 kg of explosives on an objective in 1.6 seconds. The Mission Master – Protection can also support .50 cal. machine guns and 40 mm grenade launchers.