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Pentagon budget 2022: US Army requests USD84.5 million for Robotic Combat Vehicle development

The US Army is asking Congress for USD84.5 million next year to continue Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) development and to help prepare for a solider experiment.

RCV fiscal year 2022 (FY 2022) funding is included in a ā€˜robotics developmentā€™ pot, and includes funding for development of both the light (RCV-L) and medium (RCV-M) prototypes.

ā€œPrototyping and experimentation efforts will inform new ways to fight, identify system limitations and benefits, mature key technologies, and reduce technical risk,ā€ the army wrote in budget justification documents. ā€œThe RCV programme will provide an analytically backed basis for future RCV requirements documents that will drive and inform RCV programmes of record.ā€

So far, the service has acquired four RCV-L prototypes from QinetiQ North America and Pratt Miller (now acquired by Oshkosh Defense), and four RCV-M ones from a Textron Systems, Howe & Howe Technologies, and FLIR Systems team.

The RCV-Ls are tracked, diesel-electric hybrid platforms that weigh less than 10 tons, carry a maximum payload of 7,000 lb, travel up to 40 mph, and are outfitted with Kongsberg Defence & Aerospaceā€™s Common Remotely Operated Weapon Stations - Javelin (CROWS-J).

Just days before the budget request was released, the service announced it had also received all four RCV-M prototypes after a slight delivery delay, and begun integrating autonomy packages onto the platforms.

These RCV-M prototypes are based on the Ripsaw M5 which weighs in around 10.5 tons, carries more than 8,000 lb, and can reach speeds of more than 40 mph. They include a diesel-electric hybrid drivetrain, an open architecture, flat deck for different payloads, and ā€˜scalable/configurableā€™ armour. This prototype vehicle is outfitted with Kongsbergā€™s PROTECTOR Medium Caliber Remote Weapon Station (MCT-30).

In May the US Army received its fourth RCV-M prototype. (US Army)

In May the US Army received its fourth RCV-M prototype. (US Army)

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