After the tests: there is a future in the American robotic combat vehicles [video]
WARSAW, (BM) – Over the past five weeks, one of the 4th Cavalry Division squad conducted intensive research and field testing as part of the Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) program at Fort Carson, Colorado, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24.
These tests are aimed at checking the suitability and use of autonomous combat vehicles on the battlefield in the near future.
American soldiers conducted exercises with the performance of classic combat tasks with the use of command and control vehicles on modified M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles with a two-man crew and M113 remotely controlled armored personnel carriers.
According to the program director of Next Generation Combat Vehicle-Cross Functional Team U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Ross Coffman, this experiment is expected to end on August 14 this year. and is one of three trials of this type that relate to the RCV program. After the final completion of these tests, the army is to conduct an independent tactical and technical assessment of the tested robot vehicles and decide on the further fate of the program.
Interestingly, the military already at this stage declare that they have achieved 100% success thanks to the achievement of key goals, which is gaining new experience and skills. Despite the obvious shortcomings of the current level of advancement of available autonomous solutions and the resulting problems, many of the components tested in this experiment were expected to perform better than expected. This concerned, inter alia, the service-robot interface and the cooperation between the controlling vehicle and the robot vehicle.
The main challenges that were identified during the tests are: target recognition technology, stabilization of weapon systems in the field, or maintaining efficient and continuous communication between the steering vehicle and the robot vehicle at a distance of over 1000 meters.
At the turn of 2021 and 2022, it is planned to carry out the second stage of the trials in Fort Hood, Texas, using the same vehicles, which this time are to attempt operations at the company level. Then a third experiment is planned, with these vehicles facing more advanced company-level activities. In 2023, it is planned to make a final decision on the further fate of this program and its usefulness for the U.S. Army.
In January this year. U. S. Army announced the selection of two final bidders in the program to acquire new unmanned combat vehicles – light and medium (Robotic Combat Vehicle – Light and Medium), who are to build a prototype batch of their vehicles. The winners of the proceedings were QinetiQ North America and Textron, respectively.
The US military decided to send orders to both of these companies to build four prototypes in both versions – QinetiQ light and Textron medium. The prototypes provided by both companies will be subjected to comprehensive examinations and tests in order to determine their real suitability in combat operations on land. According to preliminary assumptions, factory trials are to take place at the end of 2021.
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