4 defense teams are invited to compete to build prototypes for the US Army's future light robotic combat vehicle

4 defense teams are invited to compete to build prototypes for the US Army's future light robotic combat vehicle

Textron, Howe & Howe, FLIR Systems Ripsaw M5

  • The US Army is preparing to move to the next stage of development for its Robotic Combat Vehicle - Light (RCV-L).
  • Four defense teams led by HDT Global, Oshkosh Defense, QinetiQ NA, and Textron Systems have made it through the white paper submission and oral review process and been selected to respond to the request for prototype proposals expected next month, the National Advanced Mobility Consortium (NAMC) announced recently.
  • The Army is expected to award contracts for the RCV-L next spring.

Four defense teams have been selected to move forward to the next phase of development for the US Army's light robotic combat vehicle.

HDT Global, Oshkosh, QinetiQ North America, and Textron Systems have moved past the white paper submission and oral review phases and have been invited to compete to develop prototypes for the Robotic Combat Vehicle - Light (RCV-L), one of three RCV variants that the Army is interested in procuring, the National Advanced Mobility Consortium (NAMC) announced Friday.

The solicitation process for the RCV-L project, one of four priorities for the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle program, the second highest Army Futures Command priority, is being carried out in two stages.

The first stage involved a request for white papers (RWP), which was issued in mid-June, and an oral review. The second stage will be a request for prototype proposals (RPP). Only four defense teams out of a larger group of initial participants have been selected to participate in the second stage.


The RPP is expected to be issued around Thanksgiving. The Army will issue contracts next spring for the delivery of four non-developmental RCV-L surrogates for evaluation, test, and manned-unmanned teaming experimentation, a Federal Business Opportunities notice from May explained.

Before the solicitation process began, defense firms attended an industry event at Texas A&M System's RELLIS Campus, where they conducted robotic combat vehicle technology demonstrations aimed at informing the requirements for the RCV program, Defense News reported.

To participate, the university revealed, the various firms had to present all-terrain vehicles capable of speeds between 15 and 75 mph able to carry payloads of at least 1,000 pounds out to a distance of at least 500 meters in any and all weather conditions.

The Army has characterized the RCV-L as an expendable platform designed primarily for reconnaissance that can be transported via CH-47 or C-130 and ready for combat within 15 minutes of disembarking.

The RCV-L is expected to travel at speeds of at least 25 mph in order to keep pace with its unit and associated vehicles and carry a payload of at least 1,200 pounds. The Multi-Mission Payloads (MMP) the vehicle will carry include lethality packages consisting of cannons and missiles for combat operations.


The RCV-L is also expected to have silent drive and 360-degree sensing capabilities.

At the Association of the United States Army conference in Washington, DC last week, Textron Systems, subsidiary Howe & Howe, and partner FLIR Systems unveiled the Ripsaw M5, a modular, scalable RCV platform able to serve as an RCV-L and RCV-M (Medium) pitch.

Read more: Textron, Howe & Howe and FLIR roll out a small robot tank that can deploy drones in bid to build the Army's new robotic combat vehicle

At the conference, QinetiQ announced its partnership with Pratt & Miller, and HDT showed off its Hunter WOLF (Wheeled Offload Logistics Follower) unmanned ground vehicle. QinetiQ, Defense News reported, has plans to offer the Army a variation of its Expeditionary Modular Autonomous Vehicle (EMAV).

It is unclear at this time what Oshkosh Defense intends to bring to the table.