On Thursday, in a press release, US army has said that next year it will begin live testing a new Robot Combat Vehicle (RCV). Live-fire tests of a new Robotic Vehicles will be conducted by them. In these tests vehicles will not get involved but ultimately slated to go into combat. Actually they will be used to show off different technologies that may later be included into platforms in the future. Also these tests will include how soldiers might actually use them on the battlefield.
Mission Enabler Technologies-Demonstrators (MET-Ds) will be used to control these vehicles. They are upgraded Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and will be controlled by soldiers in a vehicle using touchscreen panels. These MET-Ds will also be equipped with cameras and a remote turret.
In next March at Fort Carson in Colorado, the first phase of testing will begin featuring a pair of MET-D vehicles and four RCVS. A driver will control the each MET-D and a pair of RCVs to assess platoon-level maneuvers which will be controlled by a gunner, and four soldiers. The tests will be assessed by the Army’s Combat Capabilities Development Command’s Ground Vehicle Systems Center and the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team, who will modify the technology for further tests.
The second test which will take place in May 2021 and will be on a much larger scale with an infantry unit in Europe. Six MET-Ds and four M113 RCVs, along with four light and medium RCVs to conduct company-level maneuvers will be seen in another test which will take place sometime in late 2021.
In 2023, a third test will occur and it will include 6 MET-Ds, 4 M113 RCVs, as well as four medium and heavy RCVs.
For several years,US Army has been working to develop armored robotic vehicles. But, the vehicles are not the actual robotic vehicles which are being used in these tests and that will eventually end up in combat. These new robot vehicles are only surrogates, they will surely set the stage for testing technologies which will then be used in active military situations.
These tests are carried out to check that how their operators will utilize them but not to check the the vehicle capabilities. They will learn how to attack an enemy without putting soldiers directly in the line of fire by using these future robotic vehicles. In the release, David Centeno Jr., chief of the center’s Emerging Capabilities Office said that:
When US forces come under fire, the Army will need to “find ways to penetrate that bubble, attrit their systems, and allow for freedom of air and ground maneuver.”
These robotic systems can easily do that as they are directed into the line of fire by soldiers who are well out of range. Also, they are mobile platforms equipped with cameras and guns. These vehicles would not need to be as heavily armored, and they could allow more space to weapons or fuel, as they will not actually carry people. Thus, these vehicles are expected to be smaller and faster than the crewed vehicles.
Future RCV platforms are being currently developed by the Army. A demonstration event held in May, in Texas, which involved six different teams test out eight remotely-controlled robotic vehicles on a course. It was actually held to demonstrate their abilities and further understand the role of the vehicles in the future.