January 19, 2021

robot

Soldiers with the 3rd Infantry Division recently spent a month running variants of the Army’s Robotic Combat Vehicle in contact, attack and defense missions with a rifle platoon.

Those soldiers, from A Company, 1st Battalion of the 28th Infantry, took four RCV surrogate vehicles in the “Project Origin” fleet to test new technologies the Army wants at the fingertips of its ground forces.

The aim of the most recent experiment was to see what an RCV would add to a rifle platoon’s toolkit. To that end, soldiers ran movements to contact, attacks and defense missions with their standard formation and then did the same maneuvers with the RCV, according to an Army statement.

Army Bradley Fighting Vehicles from 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, travel to battle positions during STRIKE BACK 19 at the Bulgarian Land Forces' Novo Selo Training Area. In 2020, soldiers at Fort Carson, Colorado, will use modified Bradleys while remote controlling robotic vehicles in a platoon-sized mechanized assault. (Capt. Erica Mitchell/Army) Army Bradley Fighting Vehicles from 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, travel to battle positions during STRIKE BACK 19 at the Bulgarian Land Forces' Novo Selo Training Area. In 2020, soldiers at Fort Carson, Colorado, will use modified Bradleys while remote controlling robotic vehicles in a platoon-sized mechanized assault. (Capt. Erica Mitchell/Army)

Soldiers from A Company used a tethered drone, counter-drone jammer, modular smoke obscuration module and a Common Remotely Operated Weapon System that had both an M240 machine gun and Javelin missile. They ran those systems during dismounted movements.

The operators were also able to use the RCV autonomous drive functions and run it through an amphibious movement when they “swam” it across Victory Pond at Fort Benning, Georgia.

The RCVs were helpful in defensive operations and in easily maneuverable terrain but had difficulties working alongside soldiers in dense vegetation during dismounted operations, according to the statement.

Army Times sister publication Defense News reported in September that the service wants to field light, medium and heavy versions of the RCV. The light version could be in manufacturing within the next three years, followed shortly afterward by the medium then heavy version.

…...