US Army JCTD programme develops autonomous combat vehicle

5 February 2018 (Last Updated February 5th, 2018 11:38)

Engineers from the US Army’s three-year ‘Wingman’ Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) programme have developed an autonomous two-vehicle set that would be controlled by soldiers.

US Army JCTD programme develops autonomous combat vehicle
The two-vehicle set in the ‘Wingman’ Joint Capability Technology Demonstration programme. Credit: US Army.

Engineers from the US Army’s three-year ‘Wingman’ Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD) programme have developed an autonomous two-vehicle set that would be controlled by soldiers.

A specially-configured high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle (Humvee) has already been autonomously piloted by engineers.

It is successful at effectively hitting targets with the 7.62mm weapon system installed on-board.

The two-vehicle set has been developed with an aim to refine the Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) programme that would help enhance the combat capability of the US Army.

“To add autonomous platforms to the manned formations and have both the man and the machine work side-by-side to accomplish a mission is pretty powerful.”

The set includes an armed robotic vehicle and a command and control Humvee, which would be operated by five army personnel.

TARDEC director Paul Rogers said: “We believe that this is a disruptive capability that can go a long way to changing the warfighting calculus.

“To add autonomous platforms to the manned formations and have both the man and the machine work side-by-side to accomplish a mission is pretty powerful.”

In May this year, US Army engineers will take the two-vehicle set to Grayling, Michigan, or Fort Benning, Georgia, with an aim to qualify it for daytime operations on a Scout Gunnery Table VI course.

The course will help train and qualify crew members in operating the ground combat vehicle before they are deployed for bigger missions.

The $20m JCTD programme that commenced last year intends to undergo numerous upgrades to the mobility and lethality subsystems on the vehicles.

The programme is also run by Army Armaments Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) and the Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division.