The Army plans to award in mid-February other transaction agreements to QinetiQ North America and Textron to build four Robotic Combat Vehicles each, the service announced today.
QinetiQ was chosen over HDT Global, Oshkosh and Textron for the Light variant, while Textron beat General Dynamics Land Systems and QinetiQ for the Medium.
"The progress that our engineers, scientists, project managers and leaders around Team Warren and the Army Modernization Enterprise have made in moving the RCV closer to reality is truly a heartening success story for Army modernization," Jeffrey Langhout, director of the Ground Vehicle Systems Center, said in an Army release. "That we can get this far already is a testament to the dedication and passion of the Army to giving our soldiers the best capabilities possible. This is a great day for our Army, as we make another important step in learning how we can employ robotic vehicles into our future formations."
The RCVs will be used "to determine the feasibility of integrating unmanned vehicles into ground combat operations," according to the service.
The Light and Medium RCVs will participate in a company-level experiment in 2021. The Army will use the results of that experiment along with a platoon-level experiment in March and several virtual experiments to decide "how to proceed with robotic combat vehicles in 2023."
Brig. Gen. Ross Coffman, director of the Next Generation Combat Vehicles cross-functional team said today, "Robots have the potential to revolutionize the way we conduct ground combat operations. Whether that's giving increased fire power to a dismounted patrol, breaching an enemy fighting position, or providing [chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high-yield explosives] reconnaissance, we envision these vehicles providing commanders more time and space for decisions and reducing risk to soldiers."