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AUSA 2021: Army prepares for next phase of RCV prototype testing

An RCV-M fires a round at a target during the vehicle's live-fire testing at Fort Dix, New Jersey, on 30 June. (US Army )

US Army officials will conclude shakedown testing with eight robotic combat vehicle (RCV) prototypes in the late-October timeframe, and will then transfer the robots to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland for an additional series of tests to ensure that they are safe for soldiers to operate.

Director of the Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team Major General Ross Coffman, and Michael Cadieux, the director at Ground Vehicle Systems Center, provided Janes with an RCV-light (RCV-L) and RCV-medium (RCV-M) testing update ahead of this year's annual Association of the United States Army (AUSA) conference.

In early 2020 the service selected QinetiQ North America and Pratt Miller (now acquired by Oshkosh Defense) to build four RCV-L prototypes, and a Textron Systems, Howe & Howe Technologies, and FLIR Systems team to build four RCV-M prototypes. Once the teams delivered their respective vehicles, the service then integrated in government-developed autonomy software and enabled them to be paired up with modified Bradleys that are called Mission Enabler Technologiesā€“Demonstrators (MET-Ds) for manned-unmanned teaming work.

With this task completed, the service began several months of shakedown testing with both variants, to include live-fire activities. This phase is expected to conclude in a few weeks, and the robots will be moved to the Army's Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC).

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