Army seeks remote control for Assault Breacher Vehicle

By Ethan Sterenfeld / September 3, 2021 at 10:32 AM

The Army will host a virtual industry day Sept. 21 for a program to add tele-operation capabilities to the Assault Breacher Vehicle, according to an Aug. 31 notice.

The ABV is an armored tracked vehicle that is designed to clear minefields and breach obstacles for armored maneuver forces. It removes obstacles with either a mine plow or a combat dozer blade.

A remote-control system would allow ABV operators to dismount the vehicle and operate it from a distance while it performs its most dangerous tasks, according to the notice. Operators would control the ABV from a Bradley M2A3 with specialized command-and-control systems.

"The ABV integration kit will be composed of several components, allowing remotely controlled mechanical movement and communication between the ABV and control vehicle," the notice stated. "The [remote-control system] provides the option for either manned or unmanned operations."

Contractors will have to design their own interfaces to add remote operation to the ABV, as well as the controls that will be in the Bradley, according to the notice. Only members of the Defense Automotive Technologies Consortium will be able to participate in the program.

The most dangerous missions, such as breaching, could become the first roles where the Army uses unmanned systems in place of soldiers, Maj. Gen. Ross Coffman, director of the Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team, said earlier this year.