Through the Ground Vehicle Systems Other Transaction Agreement (GVS OTA), the U.S. Army chose the elite consortium made up of Oshkosh Defense, Pratt Miller Defense, and QinetiQ on September 20, 2023, to take part in the Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) program's Phase I, Platform Prototype Design and Build.

According to Steve Herrick, product manager for robotic combat vehicles, the Phase I award marks "the official transition from experimentation to a fieldable RCV platform." The RCV is a member of the Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) family of vehicles, developed by the U.S. Army to improve situational awareness, deliver decisive lethality, and offer tactical alternatives in support of multi-domain operations.

The Oshkosh Defense RCV is the culmination of ten years of experimentation, invention, and research. It expands upon the Expeditionary Modular Autonomous Vehicle's (EMAV's) demonstrated maturity, the Robotic Combat Vehicle-Light's (RCV-L's) soldier input, and the incorporation of robotic control systems designed using the Modular Open System Architecture (MOSA). The Oshkosh RCV therefore exhibits performance that is much above the necessary assessment thresholds.

Oshkosh Defense, the prime contractor and producer of technologically advanced tactical and combat vehicles, pushes the limits of innovation. For military vehicles and mobility systems, including autonomous ground replenishment (AGR), expedited leader-follower (ExLF), and the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) Remotely Operated Ground Unit for Expeditionary (ROGUE) Fires, Oshkosh continues to develop, test, and improve autonomous technologies.

Pratt Miller Defense, an Oshkosh Defense fully owned company and industry leader in vehicle mobility systems, offers cutting-edge innovation in robotics, platform development, and technology integration.

The EMAV is a tracked, diesel-electric hybrid unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) that Pratt Miller created in 2017 for the U.S. Marine Corps Warfighting Lab. The EMAV is made to serve the majority of logistical operations and has a 6,000-pound payload capacity and flat rack. The hybrid-electric drivetrain offers silent watch and silent mobility while using only electricity and has the ability to export power. The RCV-L system prototype was built on top of the EMAV because of its high mobility and capacity for system integration.

The RCV-L is an onboard lethal and surveillance reconnaissance platform that was specifically created to meet the needs of the U.S. Army. Its rotary wing transportability and high-speed cross-country mobility are intended to match or perhaps surpass those of the Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT).

The RCV-L system prototype underwent extensive testing and experimentation in 2021 and 2022. The Oshkosh RCV prototype was customized and improved to meet the demands of the soldier using the results of testing and years of customer input.

The Assured Wireless Safety System (AWSS) has been approved by the U.S. Army's DEVCOM after being approved for testing on the RCV-L. The Oshkosh RCV is equipped with the same tried-and-true wireless e-stop technology, which enables a dismounted operator or remote safety observer to safely set the system into a certified safe condition. Applying the brakes also disables the mobility systems, such as the driving motors, the high-voltage (HV) propulsion system, and the remote weapon system.

The Oshkosh RCV collaboration benefits from the decades of experience and knowledge that QinetiQ, a pioneer in robotics and unmanned systems, has in designing, deploying, and maintaining robotic solutions. The Oshkosh RCV may be extremely adaptable and payload-agnostic because of the integration of QinetiQ's MOSA robotic control technology, maximizing efficacy against a variety of threats.

Two RCVs were on display at the AUSA Global Force Symposium 2023, the first of which was armed with a Kongsberg CROWS-J M2.50 caliber machine gun and a hoverfly tethered unmanned aerial system (TeUAS). The second RCV was equipped with a Kongsberg RS6 Remote Weapon Station that featured a LW 30x113mm gun, an AeroVironment Switchblade 300 Loitering Munition/UAS Launcher system, and an L3 Smoke Obscuration Module (SOM), further demonstrating the crucial platform adaptability.

The Oshkosh consortium provides a mature and proven solution with demonstrated durability and flexibility to adopt new technologies that match the needs of the contemporary battlefield by combining manufacturing excellence, cutting-edge technology, and industry knowledge. The Oshkosh RCV prototype is still being tested for effectiveness, dependability, and maintainability.

Testing before the delivery of the prototype lowers the risk and guarantees that the consortium will be able to achieve the strict Phase I deadline. In August 2024, Oshkosh will deliver two platform prototypes for testing. The Army intends to choose one vendor for Phase II, Full-System Prototype Design and Build, with a subsequent production award in FY27. Initiation is planned to take place in FY28.

The Oshkosh Defense RCV is on exhibit at AUSA at Booth #739 and is outfitted with the Kongsberg CROWS-J RS6 Remote Weapon Station and CACI CUAS system.