The Ripsaw M5 robotic combat vehicle is an unmanned light-weight tank suitable for all-terrain conditions. Image courtesy of Textron Systems.
The M5 RCV is based on a commercial vehicle platform of Howe & Howe. Image courtesy of the U.S. Army.
The tank can operate silently and has a hypo automatic transmission system. It provides mission agility features likecan be armed with a Protector medium-calibre turret-30 (MCT-30). Image courtesy of KONGSBERG.

Ripsaw M5 is a robotic combat vehicle (RCV) developed by team Ripsaw, which consists of Textron Systems, Howe & Howe, and FLIR Systems.

The RCV is built based on Howe & Howe’s expertise in building purpose-built ground vehicles, such as EV3-F1, EV3-F2, and EV3-F4. The vehicle also uses FLIR’s technological innovation and experience in unmanned vehicle technology and Textron’s expertise in defence and technological disruptions.

The team Ripsaw exhibited the M5 RCV at the 2019 annual meeting and exposition of the Association of United States Army (AUSA) held in October 2019.

Design and features of the light-weight tank

Based on the design and technicalities of the EV3-F4, the unmanned ground vehicle is modified for combat applications. The Ripsaw EV3-F4 is one of the world’s fastest dual-tracked vehicles serving the luxury-segment customers.

The exoskeleton of the M5 tank is a rigidly welded tubular structure based on a patented high-performance suspension. The Ripsaw M5 has a maximum gross weight of 3,855.54kg and can carry payloads weighing up to 2,721.5kg.

The high modularity of the M5 means it is suitable for several applications. Its open and flat architecture enables the integration of different payloads for multiple combat applications. The vehicle integrates FLIR’s electronics and a turret for carrying weapon systems. It also comes fitted with high-intensity lighting systems.

Mission agility of Ripsaw M5 robotic combat vehicle

“The Ripsaw EV3-F4 is one of the world’s fastest dual-tracked vehicles serving the luxury-segment customers.”

The FLIR 360° perception technology gives the unmanned vehicle the flexibility during critical missions. The algorithms of the system sensors can work in common environments, as well as in challenging conditions with fog, sun glares, and low visibility.

The tank can operate silently without producing any noise. It also has a mine-clearing line (MICLIC) and mine plover. The improvised explosive device (IED) defeat roller attached to the tank is equipped with an agile counter mechanism to neutralise identified threats. The M5 RCV can also carry a FLIR SkyRaider unmanned aircraft system.


The tank can be installed with medium-calibre weapons and missiles. The Protector medium-calibre turret-30 (MCT-30) on the UGV is armed with a 30mm/40mm Bushmaster cannon and a 7.62mm coaxial gun. The automatic cannon is fed by a link-less ammunition handling system.

M5 RCV can also be equipped with other weapon stations such as Common Remote Weapon Station-Javelin (CROWS-J). The turret is mounted with a Javelin anti-tank guided missile, either an M2 .50 machine gun, M240 7.62mm machine gun, or an MK-19 40mm automatic grenade launcher (AGL).

The CROWS system also supports the RCV’s 360° rotation, while the gun elevation limits are between -20° and 60°. It integrates a daytime video camera, thermal camera, and laser rangefinder.

The FLIR gimbal further enhances the agility and surveillance of the M5 and helps in capturing multi-axis movement using high-definition zoom lenses.

Ripsaw M5 engine and mobility

Ripsaw M5 is powered by either a 1,500hp gasoline engine or a 1,000hp diesel engine. The engine is coupled to a hypo automatic transmission system supplied by Allison.

The tank is designed to operate across all kinds of terrains including desert, snowy, hilly, or uneven surfaces. The suspension is supported by a rubberised D-shaped tank track, two sprocket wheels, three return rollers, and five road wheels.

The two sprocket wheels support the movement of the track tread. The tank’s weight is evenly distributed to support the carriage of multiple payloads.