U.S. Army Conducting Robotic Combat Vehicle Soldier Operational Experiment

The U.S. Army is conducting robotic combat vehicle soldier operational experiments at Fort Carson, Colorado, from June 15 to Aug. 14, the service announced.

The experiments are being conducted by the Army’s Next Generation Combat Vehicle – Cross Functional Team (NGCV CFT) and the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC).

The objective of the experiments are to observe, collect and analyze feedback from Soldiers to assess the feasibility of integrating unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) into ground combat formations. This is the first in a series of Soldier experiments the Army is conducting to assess if robotic combat vehicles will increase the lethality of ground combat units.

Modified manned Bradley Fighting Vehicles known as Mission Enabling Technologies Demonstrators (MET-D) and modified unmanned M113 tracked armored personnel carriers, known as Robotic Combat Vehicles (RCVs) are being utilized in the experimentation. For this initial experiment, the Army is equipping a platoon-sized element of 4th Infantry Division Soldiers with MET-D vehicles.

U.S. Army Mission Enabling Technologies Demonstrator (MET-D) vehicle
The Mission Enabling Technologies Demonstrator (MET-D) manned vehicle can operate two unmanned platforms to make contact with the enemy before Soldiers do, while achieving overmatch against future operating environment threats. (U.S. Army photo by Jerome Aliotta/Released)
M113-based Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV)
M113-based Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV). (U.S. Army photo by Jerome Aliotta/Released)

The purpose of the Robotic Combat Vehicles (RCV) program is to develop of suite of vehicles that can be remotely operated to do two things: provide additional time and space for leaders to make decisions by providing additional reconnaissance capabilities and standoff distance; or to replace Soldiers in high risk activities like combined arms breaches or Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) reconnaissance.

According to the Army, this program is about giving Soldiers additional tools to make them successful in a complex, and multi-domain battlefield.

The Phase 1 Demonstration for the RCV program was held at Camp Grayling in Michigan in August 2019. Following several months of shakedown testing at Camp Grayling, two MET-Ds and four RCV surrogates were turned over to the Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC) at the Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) in Maryland. At APG, the vehicles went through even more extensive testing to make certain they’re safe for the Soldiers to operate.

The United States Army CCDC Ground Vehicle Systems Center, located in Detroit Arsenal, Michigan, is the U.S. Armed Forces’ research and development facility for advanced technology in ground systems. It is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.

The Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross Functional Team drives combat vehicle modernization to rapidly provide Soldiers with the most advanced combat platforms. The NGCV-CFT actively synchronizes, coordinates, and resources programs to rapidly provide Soldiers with next generation combat platforms.

NGCV CFT and GVSC, as part of the Army Futures Command (AFC), are executing the Army’s modernization priorities.

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