QinetiQ North America and Pratt and Miller Defense are partnering on the Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) programme.

QinetiQ North America (QNA) and Pratt & Miller will submit a variant of the Expeditionary Modular Autonomous Vehicle (EMAV) tailored to the Robotic Combat Vehicle program’s specific requirements, say the firms.

“The Robotic Combat Vehicle submission will leverage QNA’s modular open architecture unmanned ground vehicle control systems integrated with Pratt & Miller’s advanced mobility platform. The resulting system is a robust non-developmental solution demonstrated to fulfill the Government’s required attributes. The RCV base platform has been proven through direct warfighter experimentation to be agile, powerful, and highly reliable.”

“QinetiQ North America has focused on fielding advanced technical solutions to help our military counter emerging threats for over 25 years,” stated QNA’s President Jeff Yorsz.

“We are excited to team with a company that has equal passion of providing groundbreaking real-world solutions to our warfighters.”

Pratt & Miller Defense say it specialises in the development and manufacturing of advanced vehicles and systems for the demanding requirements of the military.

Matt Carroll, Pratt & Miller CEO, said in a release:

“Our combined cultures of innovation and expertise in supporting the warfighter will provide the US Army with a mature world class solution for the RCV program.”

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Airborne
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Airborne

I’m a firm believer in this, and I think we will see some serious leaps and bounds in practical development in the next few years. So many uses for unmanned ground vehicles, some already in service or trialled, but not many versions which can deliver a practical, tactical kinetic effect.

Oscar Zulu
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Oscar Zulu

The Australian Army’s 9th Force Support Battalion and 2nd General Health Battalion fielded six Mission Adaptable Platform Systems (MAPS) at the Talisman Sabre 2019 training exercise in July 2019. MAPS is a medium-sized semi-autonomous unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) developed by Australian company Praesidium Global for the ADF. Missions include ISR, cargo and equipment transport, route clearance, casualty evacuation, tactical resupply and fire support. The baseline MAPS is a 6×6 platform integrating plug and play systems, including a recharge generator and an additional battery pack, an acoustic gunshot detection system and can carry payloads of more than 500kg. It can be… Read more »

Jonny
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Jonny

We better buy some!

Cam
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Cam

Some of these things mixed in with an infantry battalion, with Martlet missiles also.

Oscar Zulu
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Oscar Zulu

BAE Systems Australia and the Australian Army have converted two M113 AS4 APCs using autonomous technologies developed by the company in Australia. The optionally crewed combat vehicles (OCCV) have conducted fire and manoeuvre demonstrations alongside crewed AS4s of the 3rd/4th Cavalry Regiment, School of Armour at the Majura training area outside Canberra. A Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) was set up in 2017 under the Next Generation Technologies Fund. BAE Systems is the industry lead for Land Autonomy. Following the demonstration, the optionally crewed M113 AS4 will be available for other CRC partners to use as test… Read more »

DaveyB
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DaveyB

I am always amazed at how everyone says this will be the next big thing. Russia have actually used in combat a remote controlled ground vehicle in Syria and even they admitted it was a failure. The main reason was due to interrupted communications when operating in a built up areas. They decided to use a line of sight data-link which was supposed to have a range of a couple of kilometres. But operating around buildings this dropped to 300m. They would have used satellite comms but believed the US was jamming them. The Uran-9 mini-tank was armed with a… Read more »

Airborne
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Airborne

Davey, I have to say, having used quite a bit of Russian kit, it’s never that good anyway! It’s all bluff and bluster. Any use of a unmanned ground vehicle has to have operational limits attached. We are only beginning the journey to a truly autonomous ground combat vehicle, and in an asymmetric environment it is still to early for it to be a reliable concept, with no vehicles currently able to operate so. But, as someone who has experience in combat of air and ground unmanned surveillance, it will be a game changer when the concept is fully operational,… Read more »

Steve
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Steve

It seems like a lot of the issues can be worked around using them in combo with small drones. The drones could provide a better 360 degree field of view to give the situational awareness and also be used to bounce the signal off to avoid buildings getting into the way. Small drones are also difficult to shoot down as they are well small and don’t have a massive heat signature. They could also use signal repeaters which the ground troops could lob or fire into position. However my guess is the early versions won’t be used remotely but will… Read more »

Steve
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Steve

however the biggest problem that is never really talked about is price. The only way that these will be useful is if they can be put into places where it is too risky for a manned vehicle and so they have to be cheap or they will be too expensive to risk.

Airborne
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Airborne

Pretty much spot on, we have trialed and used a version which replaces the CSM and Plt Sgt and his quad bike and trailer (which came in during Herrick as combat loads were getting ridiculous and ammunition was being used at a fast rate of knots) which is controlled by lads at platoon level. It had issues but as a load carrier easier to use and adapt. The issue is when you need an unmanned ground vehicle to go kinetic, then you are correct, initially it would be a static type weapon carrier, activated remotely or by human observation and… Read more »

DaveyB
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DaveyB

I agree, the quad bike and trailer was a lifesaver for two reasons the amount of extra ammo it could carry, but also when used for casevac and you had to get to a clear area for medevac. Granted you can use two blokes to stretcher someone, but if its more than half a click away, they’ll be blowing out of their ar*** pretty quickly. Putting the stretcher on the trailer, although you feel every bump along the way, was much quicker. It is also pretty noisy, being a single cylinder foul stroke. I’m basing my judgement on experience of… Read more »

Steve
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Steve

another option could be something like an illumination flare with a small parachute but instead of the flare use a signal booster/relay.

If they can build the relay’s cheap enough (should be possible based on commercially available products are cheap), then you could also use something like a modern crossbow to fire the relays onto building roofs.

Just needs a bit of creative thinking to work out how to get signal boosters into place.