AUVSI: NAVSEA presses on with Cargo UGV
The US Naval Surface Warfare Center (NAVSEA) will progress with its Cargo UGV programme with USMC evaluation trials slated to take place next week.
According to NAVSEA and Oshkosh officials, five marines will each operate a single Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR). This, they told Shephard, will then allow consideration of adding an extra UGV to be operated by a single GCS, taking the total number of vehicles operated by the system to two.
Responsible for unmanned systems weaponisation and integration at NAVSEA's Dahlgren division, Jeffrey Nachem said the tests would represent 'operational type' exercises: 'The idea is that this is not an operator intensive system,' he urged.
The news follows two Limited Technical Assessments (LTAs) conducted in May and July this year at Fort Pickett, Virginia and Gaskill, Pennsylvania.
Looking ahead, Nachem said it was likely a decision regarding the number of systems operated from a single GCS would be made during Q3 FY12. This will run alongside another LTA which will also consider the further development of autonomus capabilities. Beyond that, a Limited Objective Experiment is due to go ahead in August as part of a larger 'operational experiment', involving additional but undisclosed communications equipment, Nachem said.
According to Oshkosh's John Beck, chief engineer for unmanned systems, the programme is still in the midst of developing CONOPS (Concept of Operations) and TTPs (tactics, techniques and procedures) as the navy considers the 'next step'.
In addition, he said the company was also considering utilisation of an unmanned M-ATV (MRAP All Terrain Vehicle) to provide a protected C2 control station for operation of the MTVRs in an operational environment.
Currently, MTVR comprises one or two LIDAR systems; six EO/IR cameras for 180-degree coverage of obstacle classification; as well as short, medium and long range radars. The US Navy is looking for a Cargo UGV to be able to deliver approximately six tonnes of supplies including water, ammunition and food.
Beck added that a lot of effort was being put into 'perception capabilities' of MTVR for slopes, gradients and 'dusty situations' hindering visibility.
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