The US Army has selected four defense companies to proceed to the first phase of its Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) program.
The service has requested Oshkosh Defense, Textron Systems, General Dynamics, and McQ to build prototypes of the RCV lightweight variant for a combined budget of $24.7 million.
Two prototypes from each company will be handed over to the army in 2024 for mobility testing and soldier touchpoints.
From there, a single vendor will advance to the second phase to finalize system design and deliver up to nine prototypes.
According to the US Army, the prototypes will undergo further performance testing before a production decision in 2027. The first RCV-Light units are expected to be fielded in 2028.
The RCV Program
The US Army’s RCV program aims to equip warfighters with a state-of-the-art vehicle that offers improved speed, range, and lethality to address emerging threats.
Its light variant should weigh less than 10 tons to be transportable by rotary-wing aircraft.
Additionally, the vehicle should be able to defeat light- to medium-armored assets and be equipped with lethal systems, such as anti-tank missiles and recoilless rifles.
The army previously said it plans to spend nearly $700 million on the prototype competition.
‘Future of Ground Combat’
According to the service, the RCV-Light will deliver increased situational awareness and additional tactical options to infantry units.
Its operators will remotely control the ground vehicles to avoid being exposed to open fire.
With the RCV’s unique features, US Army official Brig. Gen. Geoffrey Norman said it could be the future of successful ground combat.
“Bringing RCVs into our formations will give our soldiers new capabilities to fight and win with the changing character of war,” he said.