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US Marines seek new UVS capability

19 November 2018
US Marines with Weapons Platoon, A Company, Infantry Training Battalion, School of Infantry-West, prepare to fire a 60-mm mortar round at Camp Pendleton, California. The service is seeking unmanned vehicle technologies to lighten the load carried by infantry marines. Source: US Marine Corps

The US Marine Corps Rapid Capabilities Office (MCRCO) is interested in lightening the load that infantry marines currently carry by equipping squads with new unmanned vehicle technologies.

In a recent request for information posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website, the MCRCO said it is investigating unmanned vehicle system (UVS) capabilities to transport infantry marines' individual combat load at the squad level. Marines typically carry two loads totalling between 183 pounds (83 kg) and 236 pounds - an assault pack with a weight of between 96 pounds and 149 pounds and a main (sustainment) pack that weighs approximately 87 pounds.

"The intent is to evaluate systems capable of manoeuvring with a foot-mobile squad [2 to 15 marines] from the Assembly Area to the Objective Area," the service wrote. "In addition, systems capable of conducting intra-squad resupply will be of significant interest to the MCRCO."

Specifically, the MCRCO is reviewing ground vehicles with a "tele-operation capability, robotic appliqué capabilities on existing systems, and fully autonomous operation". Furthermore, the service is ideally looking for UVSs capable of operating off-road autonomously, able to carry up to 1,000 pounds while maintaining a 3.5 mph (5.6 k/h) speed, operate in a contested environment where GPS is denied, and more.

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