‘Rolling Lab’ to Integrate Next-Generation Technologies
Unveiling its Robotic Technology Demonstrator (RTD) at AUSA 2019 – part of the company’s effort to remain competitive for the US Army’s rapidly evolving and expanding Remote Combat Vehicle (RCV) programme – BAE Systems explained it is designed to do nothing less than “to pull soldiers out of risk and make their units more lethal – that is the critical piece.”
James Miller, Director for Business Development at BAE Systems Combat Vehicles, explained the demonstrator is “our approach to some of those key capabilities we think the Army looking for and how do you leap forward and go after that amazing capability is out in the future.” To that end, the company views RTD as a ‘rolling lab’ – integrating current cutting-edge capabilities and technologies and serving as a platform able to integrate next-generation technologies and materiel.
BAE Systems’ architecture strategy mirrors that of other ground vehicles in their nascent phase – emphasizing modularity, scalability and other capabilities.
The RTD, a unique vehicle in the company’s inventory and on static display at AUSA, showcases a number of issues: a long-life, composite rubber track system for reduced acoustic signature and other stealth capabilities; a widely-used and mature Hybrid Electric Drive technology, derived from BAE’s civilian bus business sector; a suite of sensors for 360° situational awareness and surveillance – added target recognition sensors, RAVEN ‘soft kill’ vehicle protective system, a sensor mast and a small, four-legged robot for reconnaissance missions – among others. The current sensor package’s deliverables to the end user include long-wave infrared imaging, signal processing and video distribution.
While the RTD incorporates a 30mm remote weapons station (RWS), the modular design leaves open the possibility of integrating a larger calibre weapon in future development efforts, to conform with the Army’s arming requirement for its RCV fleets.
The RTD was demonstrated once within the last month to the prospective US Army customer on an outdoor test track. A test firing of the RTD weapon system and operation of other onboard capabilities are planned for Spring 2020.