The utilisation of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) is becoming increasingly common in the modern battlefield, where unconventional threats are inevitable. Unmanned systems have become the focus of modern armies, with their superior capabilities that let them take part in high and low-intensity operations and hazardous environments, thereby their role has become increasingly indispensable.

In this direction, FNSS exhibited its unmanned ground vehicle ‘SHADOW RIDER’ Heavy Class Unmanned Ground vehicle (H-UGV) concept, which is based on the M113 platform, at the IDEF International Defense Industry Exhibition for the first time in 2019. In 2021, the autonomous H-UGV, with an increased number of sensors selected according to the different conditions of the battlefield and situational awareness systems, was exhibited together with the software development simulator, again at the IDEF`21 Exhibition.

Today, the SHADOW RIDER has landed on the field as an optionally manned combat system with remote control or autonomous capability. SHADOW RIDER has been successfully used in an international military live exercise in real-life operational scenarios as a wingman. Many improvements have been implemented as a result of these field tests and exercises. With a design that allows the integration of useful payloads suitable for the mission, SHADOW RIDER concept has evolved into a family of autonomous unmanned ground vehicles that will serve in all kinds of missions, especially fire support.

FNSS’ concept is presented as a viable and adaptable solution that provides autonomous capability to a conventional land platform with a kit that can be integrated into any armoured ground vehicle. SHADOW RIDER has marked its position as Türkiye’s first and one of the key heavy UGVs in the world with TRL-6-7. New variants have been developed in accordance with different operational purposes, concepts specific to each variant have been created and detailed designs according to each concept have been shaped. The vehicle can serve as an ambulance variant with a stretcher inside for transporting the wounded in need, or it can be used as a logistics support vehicle by integration of the necessary mission equipment for load-transport missions. The SHADOW RIDER concept can serve as a fire support vehicle with weapon system integration as well as a command vehicle, tactical deception vehicle and engineer reconnaissance vehicle. Joint operation studies of IKA-IKA and IKA-UAV have also been carried out.

With its increased correspondence performance and limits, and matured detection algorithms, SHADOW RIDER has reached a much higher level of technological readiness in areas such as speed and direction stabilisation, route tracking, autonomous patrol, convoy tracking, drivable area detection and obstacle avoidance. With its increased security measures and performance, and its user interface developed in line with experience, SHADOW RIDER is waiting to meet with the visitors at IDEF 2023.

In the concept of SHADOW RIDER that will be exhibited at the FNSS stand, to show that more than one mission can be performed, a stretcher has been integrated for the casualty evacuation where it can also be easily adapted to carry supplies and materials within the scope of logistics support missions. In addition, to show that it can serve as a fire support vehicle and provide protection to the units, the SHADOW RIDER is equipped with the SANCAK RWS, which differs from the previous IDEFs.