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US Army Gets ‘Robotic Combat Vehicles’ That Will Boost Ground Combat Operations

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QinetiQ Inc. and Pratt Miller Defense via a press release declared the delivery of the first Robotic Combat Vehicle – Light (RCV-L) to the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC).

The RCV-L is a purpose-built hybrid-electric unmanned ground combat vehicle (UGCV) integrating technology from both organizations.

The first RCV-L was delivered to GVSC on November 5, 2020. The RCV-L, provided by the team of QinetiQ Inc. (QinetiQ) and Pratt Miller Defense (Pratt Miller), is the first of four systems to be delivered. The culmination of eight months of challenging work, this on-time delivery is a major milestone for the RCV program’s industry/government collaboration.

Michael Rose; Branch Chief for Robotic Combat Platforms, GVSC Ground Vehicle Robotics; shared the following after the delivery took place.

“The delivery of the first RCV-L is an exciting result of numerous government organizations and industry working together to achieve our first combat-ready robotic vehicle.

This unit is the first of four vehicles developed in support of the Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T) Soldier Operational Experiment, planned for 2022, and represents a significant milestone for the program.

QinetiQ and Pratt Miller have successfully developed and delivered these systems within budget and on-schedule even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The GVSC team now plans to add Autonomous Mobility as well as Government Furnished Software for the Tethered UAS Multi-Mission Payload and CROWS-J Lethality package.”

“We are proud to deliver the first Robotic Combat Vehicle to the U.S. Army,” said Laurent Lannibois, QinetiQ’s RCV Program Manager. “This delivery will provide the Army with an unmanned vehicle ready for integration into ground combat operations.

Our team’s ability to deliver this unparalleled and versatile capability on schedule while working through the unexpected challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic is commendable.”

The team hosted representatives from GVSC along with the Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) Cross-Functional Team (CFT), and Program Executive Office (PEO) Ground Combat Systems (GCS) Product Manager Robotic Combat Vehicle (PdM RCV) the week prior to delivery at Pratt Miller’s New Hudson, MI facility.  They demonstrated the RCV-L system and shared the progress of the follow-on vehicle builds.

“This is an important step forward for the RCV enterprise and, more importantly, for our Soldiers,” said Brig. Gen. Ross Coffman, director of the Army’s Next-Generation Combat Vehicles Cross-Functional Team.

“We look forward to getting this prototype into the hands of our Soldiers and getting their feedback on how we can best utilize Robotic Combat Vehicles in defense of our great nation.”

The RCV-L is a purpose-built hybrid-electric unmanned ground combat vehicle (UGCV) configured to meet the specific needs of the program. It builds upon the proven maturity provided by the Pratt Miller Expeditionary Modular Autonomous Vehicle (EMAV) and integrates QinetiQ’s Modular Open System Architecture (MOSA) robotic control systems to make it both highly flexible, and payload agnostic.

Brian Barr, Pratt Miller Product Manager, described the RCV-L, “By building upon years of EMAV development, testing, and experimentation with the United States Marine Corps, we were able to provide the Army with a mature low-risk system that exceeds the objective level speed, maneuverability, and payload requirements in a single system configuration.

The EMAV platform’s modular flat deck architecture has been integrated with over 20 payloads and exemplifies the flexibility required to address current and future threats.”

The RCV-L Prototype Project was awarded to QinetiQ North America (now a wholly-owned subsidiary of QinetiQ Inc.) with major subcontractor Pratt Miller, in March 2020 through the National Advanced Mobility Consortium. The agreement includes the delivery and support of four RCV-L platforms with procurement options for up to 16 additional RCV-L systems.

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