US Army selects four companies for Robotic Combat Vehicle prototypes

The Army of United States (US) has awarded agreements to four companies to design and build Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) platform prototypes in Phase I of a multi-phase Program of Record competition utilizing the Ground Vehicle Systems (GVS) Other Transaction Agreement (OTA).

The agreements were awarded to: McQ, Inc. (Fredericksburg, Va.); Textron Systems Corporation (Hunt Valley, Md.); General Dynamics Land Systems (Sterling Heights, Mich.); and Oshkosh Defense, LLC (Oshkosh, Wis.).

The total combined base award value is approximately $24.72 million.

Notably, the four awardees will each build and deliver two platform prototypes by August 2024 in support of platform mobility testing and a Soldier touchpoint.

Further, they will concurrently mature and deliver integrated system designs towards Army requirements for a lightweight, modular, and upgradeable robotic combat vehicle.

This full system prototype award is part of the RCV-Light (RCV(L)) Middle Tier Acquisition – Rapid Prototyping program capability that could be transitioned to production and fielding to support the Army of 2030.

The RCV-Light will deliver increased situational awareness, lethality, and tactical options for Army formations in support of multi-domain operations.

Its operators will remotely control Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCVs) or task them to operate semi-autonomously.

Variants will serve as “scouts” or “escorts” for manned fighting vehicles.

Following Phase I, the Army will compete for Phase II, amongst the Phase I contractors and down select to a single awardee in Phase II in fiscal year 2025 to finalize system designs, build, and deliver up to nine full-system prototypes in fiscal year 2026.

Further performance, reliability, and user testing of these systems will support a follow-on production decision in fiscal year 2027, and the first unit fielding is anticipated for fiscal year 2028.

It is to be noted that the US Army selected vendors for the Phase I through an Other Transaction Authority business tool – a procurement process that allows federal agencies to enter into agreements with non-traditional defense contractors, such as small businesses, research institutions, and nonprofit organizations.

Earlier this year, the Army also entered into three OTAs for RCV autonomous software development over the next two years with the Defense Innovation Unit.

The RCV program is part of the Army’s “24 in 23” Modernization Signature systems to be in the hands of Soldiers in fiscal year 2023. 

The surrogate prototypes have been in the hands of Soldiers since 2022 and is finishing a rotation at NTC in September 2023.

Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems is developing the RCV with the Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross Functional Team, both based in Warren, Michigan.