Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Army Futures Command talks robotic vehicles...we've been here for decades!

Similar to how a boxer with a longer reach finds it easier to hit an opponent, the Army is looking to punch through the standoff defenses of near-peer adversaries.

Army Futures Command is behind many of the Army's efforts to achieve that overmatch, which include over 30 projects within its Cross-Functional Teams that are responsible for tackling modernization priorities.

While speaking at the International Armored Vehicles USA conference Tuesday, Gen. John Murray, the AFC commander, noted robotic combat vehicles as one endeavor that could help Soldiers knock out defenses.

During a Joint Warfighting Assessment in May, Murray observed Soldiers and Marines conducting defensive and attack maneuvers using breacher vehicles with robotic capabilities at Yakima Training Center in Washington.

By fiscal year 2023, he said he expects "critical decisions" to be made on robotic combat vehicles after years of experimentation.

"If there's one single thing I think that will change fundamentally the way we look and the way we fight," he said, "is the possibility of deploying robotic combat vehicles in the future, either completely autonomous or semi-autonomous as wingmen."

This fall, proposals are also due from industry partners on their ideas for the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, which will replace Bradley Fighting Vehicles starting in 2026.

AFC officially stood up last year, he said, after the Army missed a generation of modernization while fighting for years in counterinsurgency campaigns. 

This is a personal sore spot.  We've been in this exact position for decades.  Shall I take you thru a trip down memory lane?

How many remember the Crusher?  High mobility?  Check.  ISR package?  Check.  Able to carry weapons?  Check.

How about the Oshkosh Terramax?  We were getting hit with IEDs during supply missions so the idea was for a logistics truck to go unmanned to lessen casualties.  Demonstrated mobility?  Check.  Able to navigate obstacles?  Check.

How about the Black Knight?  Demonstrated to the Army and performed well.  Did they bite?  Nope.

Frustration doesn't even come close.

I don't know what the Futures Command is suppose to do, but so far all I'm seeing is what's already been done.

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