US 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment ‘Garryowen’ troopers with 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, have started testing robotic combat vehicles (RCV) at Fort Hood, Texas.

The cavalry personnel are engaged with the Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross Functional Team (NGCV CFT) members to evaluate the various versions of the RCV platforms. 

RCVs are expected to take on a key role in future combat operations.

The evaluation exercise started last month and will go on until late summer, reported Eric Franklin, Fort Hood Public Affairs.

As part of the exercise, soldiers are training on the RCVs and testing capabilities to help on-site Army engineers and technicians to collect technical inputs to further develop the vehicles.

The RCV platforms, with non-standard battery-powered systems, are being tested under various battlefield-like conditions. The troopers are also evaluating the vehicles’ capabilities to avoid obstacles and fire weapons while on the move.

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Validating the benefits of robots in manned-unmanned formations, the soldiers have also identified new requirements to modernise the RCVs.

NGCV CFT RCV lead major Cory Wallace said: “Soldier feedback is the foundation for every single requirement we’re writing.”

The soldiers will also test a tethered uncrewed aerial system (UAS), a counter-UAS jammer, smoke obscuration module, autonomous drive function and a commonly remote-operated weapon system integrated with crew-served weapons and a Javelin.

The Army is planning additional soldier training and RCV testing sessions over the next 36 months. This will guide the Army in taking decisions on potential procurement and use of the uncrewed systems in combat.

1-7 Cavalry staff sergeant Miguel Albertson said: “We are essentially planning and writing for the future.”

In May 2021, the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) took delivery of the fourth and final RCV (Medium) prototype to be used by soldiers in operational experiments.