The US Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) has selected Lockheed Martin as the integrated systems developer for the expedient leader follower (ExLF) programme.

Under the deal, the company will be committed to develop, integrate and test unmanned prototype systems for three years in order to support leader / follower convoy activities within an asymmetric threat environment.

As part of the project, the US Army soldiers will carry out operational technology demonstrations using the prototypes developed under the ExLF programme.

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control Precision Fires & Combat Manoeuvre Systems vice-president Gaylia Campbell said: “We are leveraging 15 years of experience in developing autonomous capabilities for our customers.

“We are leveraging 15 years of experience in developing autonomous capabilities for our customers.”

“Our goal as the integrated systems developer is to help coordinate a number of systems and vendors in achieving mature, reliable autonomous convoys to support our warfighters in complex environments.”

During resupply convoys, conditions such as long sustainment missions, adverse weather / environment and night operations adversely affect the safety of the operator, degrade situational awareness of the driver / operator and reduce resupply efficiency.

Campbell added: “The Expedient Leader Follower effort will equip a number of existing military ground vehicles with scalable robotic technology through the integration of modular kits, common interfaces and an open architecture to increase operator safety, improve situational awareness and increase resupply efficiency.”

In June this year, the US Army awarded a three-year $49.7m contract to Robotic Research for the delivery of autonomy kits for large convoy resupply vehicles as part of the ExLF programme.