EOSMembers of the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Armaments Center at Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey, and Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) located in Detroit Arsenal, Michigan, joined together on a range at Fort Dix on 30 June to perform a live-fire test of a Robotic Combat Vehicle-Medium (RCV-M), an experimental prototype under the Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team (NGCV CFT). The tests focused on firing the RCV-M’s XM813 main gun, as well as its M240 machine gun, from an unmanned and wirelessly-operated weapon station.

“We want to look at the integration of a turret, which was provided as government furnished equipment to the effort, onto the platform,” said Mike Mera, an engineer in the Remote Weapons Branch at Picatinny Arsenal.

The RCV-M program is a joint collaboration among the NGCV CFT, Product Manager Manoeuvre Combat Systems (PM MCS), Product Manager Soldier Lethality (PM SL), and Combat Capabilities Development Command. The RCV-M platform includes products from Textron, Howe and Howe Technologies, FLIR, and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace (KDA).

“We’re using high speed cameras to look at the platform, cannon, and turret dynamics,” Mera said. “We’ve got data collection systems downrange to collect the dispersion information, and we’ll evaluate both the performance and quality of the overall integration to make sure expectations are being met.”

The verification exercise ensured the stringent requirements for the turret and host platform were not only met by design, but also in reality. “Here, we’re evaluating the armaments integration, but the overall expectation is to get these into the Soldiers’ hands and perform some experimentation as part of a regular training regimen down at Fort Hood, Texas, next summer,” Mera said.

Although this system has been in the works for approximately 18 months, this was its first live-fire test. “To date, there hasn’t been any testing other than in the lab,” Mera said.

The RCV-M armament system’s control station was housed in a Mission Enabling Technologies Demonstrator (MET-D). From there, crew members were able to move, shoot and communicate through a mixture of touchscreen panels and physical controls. The RCV-M live-fire demonstration took place at Fort Dix on ranges formerly used to train Abrams and Bradley crews in gunnery from manned combat vehicles. Fort Dix is the common name for the Army Support Activity located at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. It is located less than two hours south of Picatinny Arsenal. The partnership between the two installations allowed for flexibility in scheduling the range for testing of experimental systems in relevant environmental and training conditions.

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