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Pearson Pioneer remote minefield breaching system set for trials with NATO countries

17th June 2024 - 07:30 GMT | by Damian Kemp in Paris


Pearson Engineering’s second iteration of its RCV-Pioneer modular payload on show on the company’s stand at Eurosatory 2024. (Image: Shephard)

Robotic Combat Vehicle-Pioneer (RCV-Pioneer) minefield breaching payload has been shown for the first time at Eurosatory 2024 and will follow the debut of the RCV-Pioneer urban obstacle clearance payload at DSEI 2023.

Pearson Engineering has unveiled the second of its RCV-Pioneer modular payloads at Eurosatory 2024, a minefield breaching variant for use on large UGVs, but designed to be scalable.

The breaching system consists of two sets of mine ploughs including two track width blades at the front of the vehicle to protect the vehicle itself and a full width set at the rear to create a clear path. It can be installed or removed from the platform in field conditions in less than 20 minutes without the need for specialist tools.

The system to be trialled measures 4m wide with mine plough blade extensions and 10.5m in total including an approximated host vehicle, with a height of 2.5m depending on host vehicle. The company emphasised, however, that the system was scalable and the shared specifications represented only the trials system.

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A company official said it was likely that it would eventually be a variety of RCV-Pioneer payloads drawing upon Person experience in the field “including gap crossing, minefield clearance, detection and lots of different options” which would be swappable with common platforms.

“We’ve looked and seen the way the world is going,” the official said. “A return to traditional warfare in Ukraine [but with] an overlay of networked and other capabilities. This is a product that meets that old warfare but with an overlay of new technology. 

“We have developed with this environment in mind but not developed from someone in Ukraine saying: ‘We need this kind of solution’. This has been developed in anticipation of the way breaching requirements are going.

“Trial plans with several NATO nations are already in development for [September to November] 2024.”

The system leverages Pearson Engineering’s Vector track width mine plough, which maximises ploughing capability on lightweight vehicles with lower tractive capability than traditional armoured engineer vehicles.

This is the second RCV-Pioneer payload. (Image: Pearson Engineering)

Vector was unveiled at Eurosatory two years ago and was designed to provide lightweight combat forces with the ability to move through minefields independently. The mine plough weighs 1.2-1.5t depending on its configuration, and has been optimised to be pushed by wheeled vehicles. At the time, Pearson said it had trialled the equipment with the Spanish Army’s VCR 8x8 Dragon.

Referring to the RCV-Pioneer mine breaching payload, the official said: “Plough sections are arranged around a free-standing and intelligent mission payload frame which enables rapid docking with the chosen uncrewed vehicle.”

Adjustable jacks lower the frame onto the vehicle before locks secure the payload and vehicle together. It uses the same features to unlock the frame from the vehicle and to lift it.

The system is operated by a customisable Operator Control Unit with a real-time digital twin visualisation to shorten training and mission times, and includes an embedded video screen to enable Beyond Line-of-Sight control.

Shephard's Eurosatory 2024 coverage is sponsored by:

BAE Systems
Damian Kemp


Damian Kemp

Damian Kemp has worked in the defence media for 25 years covering military aircraft, defence …

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