US Army tests Textron Ripsaw M5 UGV as part of Robotic Combat Vehicle program

According to pictures released by the United States Department of Defense, in June 2021, United States Army has conducted trials with the Textron RIPSAW M5 Robotic Combat Vehicle, one of the candidates for the RCV-M (Robotic Combat Vehicle- Medium) program of the U.S. Army.
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In June 2021, U.S. Army has tested the Ripsaw M5 at Fort Dix. (Picture source U.S. DoD)

As a part of the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) U.S. Army program, the U.S. Army plans to acquire three RCV (Robotic Combat Vehicle ) variants, Light, Medium, and Heavy. The RCV-M is to weigh between 10 and 20 tons, with dimensions (length, width, height) of no more than 230 x 107 x 94 inches. In terms of transportability, a single RCV-M is to be transported by a C-130 transport aircraft.

The RCV-M is also expected to have a robust sensor package and be capable of integration with UAVs. It is considered to be a “durable” system and more survivable than the RCV–L.

Reportedly, the U.S. Army does not have a formal acquisition approach for the RCV, but it plans to experiment from FY2020 (Fiscal Year) to FY2023 with human interface devices and reconnaissance and lethality technologies.

The RIPSAW M5 is a tracked armed UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle) or Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) developed by the team Ripsaw, which consists of Textron Systems, Howe & Howe, and FLIR Systems. The vehicle was unveiled for the first time to the public in October 2019 during the defense exhibition, Association of United States Army (AUSA) that was held in Washington D.C.

The RIPSAW M5 is based on a tracked chassis and can be powered by a 1,500hp gasoline engine or a 1,000hp diesel engine coupled to an Allison automatic transmission. The suspension consists of rubberised D-shaped tank track, two sprocket wheels, three return rollers, and five road wheels. It can run at a maximum speed of 65 km/h. It has a combat weight of 10.5 tons with a payload capacity of 3,628 kg.

The RIPSAW M5 is fitted with the FLIR SUMIT providing seamless EO and IR (Electro-Optical/Infra-Red) image composites for 360-degree situational awareness for remote vehicle operations. EO/IR systems are imaging systems used for military or law enforcement applications which include both visible and infrared sensors. Because they span both visible and infrared wavelengths, EO/IR systems provide total situational awareness both day and night and in low light conditions.

The RIPSAW M5 is fitted with a Protector medium-calibre turret-30 that can be armed with a 30 or 40mm Bushmaster cannon and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun. The automatic cannon is fed by a link-less ammunition handling system.