U.S. Army Demos Prototype Manned Fighting Vehicle Teamed with Robotic Combat Vehicle Platoon

The U.S. Army has demonstrated the teaming of a prototype manned fighting vehicle with a robotic combat vehicle platoon at Camp Grayling in Michigan in August.

The live demonstration was hosted by Army’s Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) together with the Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) Cross Functional Team and involved manned Mission Enabling Technologies Demonstrator (MET-D) vehicles and unmanned Robotic Combat Vehicle Phase 1 surrogates.

The MET-D, a modified Bradley Fighting Vehicle, is an experimental system of vehicles designed to help the Army determine how to integrate unmanned vehicles into ground combat formations. The vehicle leverages the latest technology in sensors, data display, graphical user interface, drive-by-wire capability, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-provided video and advanced communications.

U.S. Army Mission Enabling Technologies Demonstrator (MET-D) vehicle
A Mission Enabling Technologies Demonstrator (MET-D) manned vehicle. (U.S. Army photo by Jerome Aliotta/Released)

Robotic Combat Vehicles, operated from the manned combat vehicle, are unmanned platforms which can make contact with the enemy before the Soldiers do while achieving overmatch–decisive mobility, survivability, and lethality–against future operating environment threats. The RCV surrogates used in the demonstration were based on M113 armored personnel carriers.

M113-based Robotic Combat Vehicle
An M113 APC-based Robotic Combat Vehicle. (U.S. Army photo by Jerome Aliotta/Released)

The MET-D manned vehicle can operate two unmanned platforms that can conduct nuclear biological and chemical reconnaissance while keeping Soldiers in a manned platform at a safe distance.

On Aug. 28, 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 will go through even more extensive testing to make certain they’re safe for the Soldiers to operate. After that, the vehicle sets are slated to move to Fort Carson for Soldier experimentation.

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