Earlier this month, as threats of World War 3 surged between the U.S. and Iran, President Trump boasted about his $2 trillion military spending spree. He said, "If Iran attacks an American Base, or any American, we will be sending some of that brand-new beautiful equipment their way...and without hesitation!"
Threats of war have receded this week but are still elevated. There's a new report from Defense Blog that details how the U.S. Army is continuing rapid modernization efforts to prepare for the next conflict.
The U.S. Army CCDC Ground Vehicle Systems Center and the U.S. Army Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross-Functional Team awarded QinetiQ North America and Textron last Friday with a contract to build four light (RCV Light) and four medium (RCV Medium) sized robotic tanks.
"The progress that our engineers, scientists, project managers, and leaders around Team Warren and the Army Modernization Enterprise have made in moving the RCV closer to reality is truly a heartening success story for Army modernization," said Jeffrey Langhout, Director, Ground Vehicle Systems Center.
"That we can get this far already is a testament to the dedication and passion of the Army to giving our Soldiers the best capabilities possible. This is a great day for our Army, as we make another important step in learning how we can employ robotic vehicles into our future formations," Langhout said.
The light and medium-sized RCVs will be part of the Army's Robotic Campaign of Learning that will test the robots with ground troops. Testing is expected to conclude by the end of 2021 and could enter service by 2023.
"Robots have the potential to revolutionize the way we conduct ground combat operations," said Brig. Gen. Ross Coffman, Director of the Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross-Functional Team.
"Whether that's giving increased firepower to a dismounted patrol, breaching an enemy fighting position, or providing CBRNE reconnaissance, we envision these vehicles providing commanders more time and space for decisions and reducing risk to Soldiers," Coffman said.
The RCVs are the next generation of combat vehicles that will be offered in three variants: the light version will be transportable by rotary wing, and the two medium variants will be transported in C-130 or C-17 aircraft.
Defense Blog notes that RCVs will have artificial intelligence with 25 mm chain gun swiveling on top with sensors that will be used to track and kill enemy forces. The robot will be able to support fire teams and or keep pace with armored convoys.