US Army Awards $24.72M for Robotic Combat Vehicle Prototypes to Four Companies
Detroit Arsenal, Michigan, United States – On September 20, 2023, the U.S. Army announced the awarding of contracts to four prominent companies for the design and construction of Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) prototypes. This initiative is the first phase of a comprehensive Program of Record competition. The companies selected for this prestigious project are McQ, Inc., Textron Systems Corporation, General Dynamics Land Systems, and Oshkosh Defense, LLC, with a combined contract value of around $24.72 million.
Each of these companies is tasked with producing two platform prototypes by August 2024. These prototypes will undergo mobility testing and will be evaluated by soldiers directly. The aim is to develop a lightweight, modular, and easily upgradeable robotic combat vehicle that aligns with the Army’s vision for 2030.
Maj. Gen. Glenn Dean, the Executive Officer for Ground Combat Systems, emphasized the importance of integrating advanced technology into the Army’s future systems. He noted the collaboration with both traditional and non-traditional businesses in achieving this goal.
The RCV-Light, as it’s termed, will enhance the Army’s operational capabilities, offering better situational awareness and tactical versatility. These vehicles can be remotely operated or set to function semi-autonomously, serving vital roles such as scouts or escorts for manned vehicles.
Post the initial phase, the Army plans to move to Phase II in 2025, narrowing down to one contractor. This chosen contractor will then finalize designs and produce up to nine full-system prototypes by 2026. Following rigorous testing, a production decision is expected in 2027, with the first unit deployment anticipated in 2028.
Brig. Gen. Geoffrey Norman highlighted the significance of integrating human-machine teams in future ground combat scenarios. He believes that the inclusion of RCVs will revolutionize the way soldiers operate on the battlefield.
The Army’s innovative approach to this project is evident in its selection process. They utilized the Other Transaction Authority tool, enabling partnerships with non-traditional defense entities, including small businesses and research institutions. This year, the Army also collaborated with the Defense Innovation Unit for RCV autonomous software development.
Mr. Steve Herrick, the product manager for the Robotic Combat Vehicle, expressed excitement about the project’s progression. He mentioned the invaluable insights gained from previous prototyping and operational pilots, which will shape the future of the RCV program.
The RCV initiative is a part of the Army’s “24 in 23” Modernization drive, aiming to equip soldiers with cutting-edge systems by 2023. The Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems, in collaboration with the Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross Functional Team, is spearheading this endeavor from their base in Warren, Michigan.