The Army deemed its first experiment incorporating heavy robotic combat vehicles into its units a success despite not all of the technology functioning as planned.
The five-week training event, which began in July and wrapped up in August, was part of the Army’s multi-year plan to experiment with unmanned combat vehicles as it moves toward establishing a program of record. The service views robotic systems as tools to keep soldiers out of harm’s way and free up manpower for other tasks. Next-generation combat vehicles are the Army’s No. 2 modernization priority, second only to long-range precision fires.
It is planning to create a family of robotic vehicles that will include heavy, medium and light variants. Prototypes are already being developed for the medium and light versions, and the Army’s experiment with heavy platforms will inform its decision on how to move forward with that type of system.
The recent experiment — which took place in Fort Carson, Colorado — was a success, said Brig. Gen. Richard “Ross” Coffman, director of Army Futures Command’s next-generation combat vehicle cross-functional team, which is spearheading the modernization effort.
“The whole purpose was to learn where the technology is now and how we think we want to fight with it in the future,” he said.
Coffman noted that although he viewed the experiment as a success, not all of the technology tested performed perfectly.
“It’s a sliding scale,” he told reporters after the event wrapped up. “Some knocked our socks off, and some we’ve got a little bit of work to do. But that’s why we do these things— we do it at a small scale so we can learn, save money and then make decisions on how we want to fight in the future.” (end of excerpt)
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