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US Army conducts live firing tests with Robotic Combat Vehicle-Medium armed with XM813 gun

According to information published by the U.S. Department of Defense on August 4, 2021, Members of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Armaments Center at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, and Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) located in Detroit Arsenal, Michigan, joined together on a range at Fort Dix June 30, 2021,  to perform a live-fire test of a Robotic Combat Vehicle-Medium (RCV-M), an experimental prototype under the Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team (NGCV CFT).
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U.S. Army has conducted live firing tests with RCV-M Robotic Combat Vehicle-Medium armed with XM813 main gun, as well as its M240 machine gun. (Picture source U.S. DoD)

The tests focused on firing the RCV-M’s XM813 main gun, as well as its M240 machine gun, from an unmanned and wirelessly operated weapon station. The verification exercise ensured the stringent requirements for the turret and host platform were not only met by design, but also in reality.

The RCV-M program is a joint collaboration among the NGCV CFT, Product Manager Maneuver Combat Systems (PM MCS), Product Manager Soldier Lethality (PM SL), and Combat Capabilities Development Command. The RCV-M platform includes products from Textron, Howe and Howe Technologies, FLIR, and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KDA).

The RCV-M armament system’s control station was housed in a Mission Enabling Technologies Demonstrator (MET-D). From there, crewmembers were able to move, shoot and communicate through a mixture of touchscreen panels and physical controls.

In May 2021, it was announced that the U.S. Army had taken delivery of eight Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) prototypes that will be used in a series of Soldier Touchpoints to further the Army’s Campaign of Learning.

The fourth and final RCV (Medium) prototype was delivered to the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC), which is based at the Detroit Arsenal, Michigan, on May 13th. GVSC previously took delivery of four RCV (Light) prototypes in December 2020.

During the summer both the RCV (L) and RCV (M) vehicles will undergo shakedown testing individually, in operations together, and eventually combined with the ground vehicle capability testbed, the Mission Enabling Technologies Demonstrators (MET-D) that serve as the RCV control vehicles during testing. MET-Ds are technology development tools that help the Army to evaluate emerging technology in a relevant tactical environment and decide if the new technology is worth integrating on new or legacy combat platforms.

In addition to the RCV (L) and (M) prototypes, the U.S. Army will utilize four specially equipped M113s to serve as RCV surrogates to shape and inform the future RCV effort with simulated larger caliber weapons systems. These RCV surrogates will couple with both the RCV (M) and RCV (L) to create the Army’s first Manned Unmanned-Teaming company during next summer’s SOE. During this experiment, Soldiers from the First Cavalry Division will employ the MUM-T company in offensive and defensive missions against a near-peer opposing force and conduct a live fire exercise as the culminating event.

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