Textron Systems has invested in designing, demonstrating and maturing ground robotic technologies that incorporate features for transportability, mission flexibility and battlefield agility. Textron Systems and Howe & Howe have developed multiple ground robotic vehicles in a variety of size, weight and power profiles. Textron Systems has developed the Ripsaw M5, Ripsaw M3 Tech Demonstrator, and the RS2 small unmanned ground vehicle.
The RS2 is a high-torque, hybrid diesel-electric drive designed to operate in the harshest of conditions while offering unprecedented endurance, reliability and mobility. The RS2 effortlessly navigates difficult terrains ranging from dense jungle to scorching desert with a simple, easy-to-use wireless controller. The modular design of this system allows for the integration of numerous mission packages including an improvised explosive device defeat rake, counter unmanned aircraft systems, and “follow me” autonomous control. This platform is a great stepping stone for customers that need support but cannot use a Ripsaw.
Through the development of the RS2, Textron was able to learn more about ground robotic vehicles and develop the Ripsaw M5. The M5 can silently maneuver and keep pace with the current and future maneuver forces, pushing capabilities beyond the human formation. Designed with an open architecture and a flat deck to accommodate a variety of payloads, the M5 can be tailored for a wide variety of mission sets. The M5 has undergone Soldier Operational Experiment testing and Textron has incorporated lessons learned into its other platforms. Soldier feedback and insight have allowed the manufacturer to improve its vehicles.
The Ripsaw M3 technology demonstrator is the newest generation platform within the Ripsaw family of vehicles. The technology demonstrator incorporates the familiar flat-deck configuration from the Ripsaw M5 robotic vehicle and provides unobstructed deck space to accommodate multiple payloads.
Designed to address the next biggest challenge for ground robotics – wet gap crossing and increased swim capabilities, the M3 has given Textron the opportunity to incorporate lessons learned from the M5 robotic vehicle platform into a smaller, but mission-capable variant.