General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS), a business unit of General Dynamics, has unveiled its proposal for the U.S. Army’s Robotic Combat Vehicle acquisition project.
A concept for the program of the TL1 Robotic Combat Vehicle was displayed for the first time at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) annual meeting in Washington, DC, in October.
“It’s designed to exceed Army objectives for weight and payload for the Robotic Combat Vehicle-Light and RCV-Medium programs,” according to GDLS.
The new Robotic Combat Vehicles are developing as part of Army’s Next Generation Combat Vehicle program, which in turn part of the ‘big six’ priorities of the service that also includes long-range precision fires, Future Vertical Lift, the network, air and missile defense, and Soldier lethality.
The main goal of the RCV project – a creation of the next generation of vehicles that are not only more lethal and survivable than current combat platforms but much smaller, lighter, and more fuel efficient. Soldiers in the field need the right equipment to be successful. A tank that is too heavy to cross a bridge or maneuver through rough terrain and high altitudes can have a serious impact on mission success.
With no human operators inside it, the RCV can provide the lethality associated with armored combat vehicles in a much smaller form. Plainly speaking, without a crew, the RCV requires less armor and can dedicate space and power to support modular mission payloads or hybrid electric drive batteries.
The family of RCVs will include three variants. Army officials envision the light version to be transportable by rotary wing. The medium variant would be able to fit onto a C-130 aircraft, and the heavy variant would fit onto a C-17 aircraft.
The new combat vehicles also will have cutting-edge features such as a remote turret for the 25 mm main gun or more lethality weapon systems, 360-degree situational awareness cameras and enhanced remote stations. The new RCV will also be able to keep pace with infantry and other armored vehicles during off-road maneuver and movement on paved streets and highways.
The Army reportedly envisions employing RCVs as “scouts” and “escorts” for manned combat vehicles.
Initially, RCVs would be controlled by operators riding in NGCVs, but the Army hopes that improved ground navigation technology and artificial intelligence will permit a single operator to control multiple RCVs.