Marine Corps In search of Intel on Reconnaissance Automobile
Textron’s Cottonmouth ARV.
The newest replace to the Marine Corps Pressure Design 2030 modernization plan highlights the service’s transition of sunshine armored reconnaissance battalions to cellular reconnaissance battalions, which would require a mixture of aerial, sea and land techniques.
One potential system is the Superior Reconnaissance Automobile, which is at present within the analysis course of because the service contemplates its necessities.
Initially conceived as a alternative for the Mild Armored Automobile, or LAV — which has been in service because the Eighties and is slated for retirement by the mid-2030s — the ARV isn’t talked about within the 2023 Pressure Design 2030 replace, elevating questions in regards to the position it’d play in multi-domain reconnaissance.
Lt. Gen. Karsten Heckl, deputy commandant for fight growth and integration, stated, “There’s a requirement for some sort of LAV alternative, we all know that for positive. The answer might be going to be totally different for various [areas of operations], will likely be totally different for various” Marine Expeditionary Forces, he informed reporters in June.
For instance, a floor car could be of use to Marine items in Europe, Africa and the Center East, however much less so within the Indo-Pacific, he stated.
“Proper now, now we have a number of preliminary designs going ahead,” he stated. “We’re in competitors with three distributors. And we’ll downselect primarily based on what the operational want is for the fleet.”
Brig. Gen. Stephen Lightfoot, director of the service’s Capabilities Growth Directorate, famous that the service is a mix of techniques to fulfill reconnaissance wants.
“We’re ultralight automobiles; we’re gentle automobiles; we’re doubtlessly gentle armored automobiles, and that’s the place the ARV is available in,” he stated in a Pressure Design 2030 replace media name.
“Small [unmanned aerial systems] and loitering munitions would have the ability to come off of a few of these automobiles, and we’d have the power to do” command and management, he added. “So, I feel that it’s definitely not simply merely an LAV alternative, it’s a household of techniques to offer us a a lot larger functionality ahead, significantly within the littorals.”
Heckl stated: “No matter this factor finally ends up being, whichever one we find yourself choosing … it’s going to be one other node within the sense/make sense ecosystem all the best way to the tactical edge. And it’s going to be an vital element of that.”
The Corps is at present experimenting with a number of ARV variants, known as a household of automobiles. The primary variant is the Command, Management, Communications and Computer systems/Unmanned Plane Methods, or C4/UAS, model.
In 2021, the Marine Corps chosen Textron Methods and Common Dynamics Land Methods to design and develop ARV prototypes, each of which had been delivered to the service in December 2022, marking the start of the “formal authorities analysis course of,” a Congressional Analysis Service report on the ARV program stated.
BAE Methods delivered a 3rd ARV prototype to the Marine Corps in January for testing, an organization launch stated.
The ARV prototypes developed by Textron, Common Dynamics and BAE fluctuate in particular capabilities and design whereas concurrently assembly Marine Corps necessities, in response to spokespeople from the three contractors.
Textron launched its Alpha ARV prototype in 2021. Since then, it has been examined, modified and redesigned, resulting in Textron’s present “decrease danger” C4/UAS variant, the Cottonmouth ARV, in response to an organization launch.
“We didn’t take one thing that at present existed. We knew what the Marine Corps’ necessities had been at the moment, and we spent our personal cash and developed a prototype,” David Phillips, senior vp of Textron’s Land and Sea Methods companies, stated in an interview.
“We took it out to the Nevada Automotive Take a look at Heart, and we examined it towards the identical operational profiles that the Marines had been going to check on this section of this system,” Phillips stated. “We did all that earlier than we bought the contract, after which realized after which put all that into our second-generation prototype, which is what we delivered to the Marines in December of 2022.”
Phillips stated one of the vital vital elements of designing the ARV was the event of a techniques integration lab, which “replicates the car and acts like one other car speaking with the car.
“The Marines consult with [the ARV] as their battlefield quarterback,” he stated. “It’s got to have the ability to take sensor information from different automobiles throughout the battalion, but additionally different property that the Marines have on the battlefield — like unmanned plane techniques, boats — something that’s accumulating info has to return again via that car, which then disseminates info to different automobiles, in addition to their tactical operations command, again to the mothership after which to greater headquarters.”
Textron’s Cottonmouth ARV prototype was particularly designed to fulfill the Corps’ necessities, specializing in swim velocity, sturdiness and weight, he added.
Essentially the most notable factor about Textron’s prototype is its “clear sheet design,” which means that it was designed and developed from scratch versus modifying an already current car, he stated.
“We decided that the one means [to meet the highest of the Marine Corps’ requirements] was to develop a car from the bottom up that may be targeted on swim velocity, stopping distance within the water [and] sturdiness,” he stated.
Common Dynamics Land Methods’ ARV prototype emphasizes the significance of integrating next-generation capabilities and expertise into extra standard automobiles, in response to the corporate’s director of enterprise growth for Marine Corps and Navy applications Phil Skuta. The prototype provides enhanced mobility and communications techniques, he stated in an interview.
“The ARV connects to an array of on-board and off-board sensors, plus uncrewed aerial techniques, and sooner or later we expect it might additionally hook up with our floor robotic techniques,” Skuta stated. “It’s extremely cellular on land and in water. It permits Marines to sense and talk like by no means earlier than.”
Common Dynamics’ ARV was designed to combine sensors right into a sensing community, permitting it to be part of what the Marine Corps calls the general kill internet, “to have the ability to sense, talk, discover the enemy after which have the ability to handle the enemy, whether or not it’s with a weapon or some sort of further asset,” Skuta stated. “We assimilate that info, fuse it collectively, after which we allow the Marines — not solely on the ARV, however of their reconnaissance formations — to make selections and act in a really well timed method towards the enemy.”
Common Dynamics can quickly ship their ARV via its “state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. We now have sizzling manufacturing strains proper now. We now have capability to broaden these manufacturing strains when the Marines wish to begin producing this car. … We proceed to spend money on that all-important infrastructure, so you have got a really fashionable, environment friendly manufacturing facility which can allow you to provide a really high-quality product,” Skuta stated.
Because the prototype section approaches completion, Common Dynamics has already begun to develop a digital coaching program for the ARV, impressed by the fashionable gaming atmosphere.
This digital coaching system, or DTS, offers car operators, upkeep instructors and college students “an immersive, gaming-type instructing/studying answer. Customers have the power to just about discover techniques’ model-based, simulated digital twins via any gadget, similar to a pill, telephone or laptop,” Skuta stated in an electronic mail.
“DTS is in use and will likely be deployed to help the ARV as an instructor-led coaching answer, connecting to all variant platforms to create a completely related, dwell digital twin,” he continued.
The system can also be designed to align with the Marine Corps’ Undertaking Tripoli dwell, digital, constructive coaching atmosphere. Marines will finally “have the ability to prepare on an actual or digital ARV and be related to different ARV operators globally,” Skuta stated.
BAE Methods has taken a special method. As a substitute of ranging from scratch, the corporate developed a prototype primarily based off its already-in-service Amphibious Fight Automobile by integrating the electronics and drone capabilities right into a modified reconnaissance design, referred to as the ACV-R.
Garrett Lacaillade, vp and common supervisor of amphibious automobiles at BAE, stated the ACV-R provides a variety of contemporary capabilities designed particularly to help the wants of the Marine Corps, each present and future.
“We imagine the ACV is a essentially sound, survivable, extremely cellular and full ship-to-shore succesful platform,” he stated in an interview. “Something you can consider placing on it from a mission bundle standpoint, BAE Methods believes that is the car to do all of it for the Marine Corps.”
The ACV-R was designed to showcase all of the several types of technological capabilities that may be built-in into the car, Lacaillade stated.
“We now have given the Marine Corps what we like to consider because the Swiss Military knife of amphibious warfare,” he stated. “And so, that is all about determining what different expertise we are able to placed on the platform. Most of this expertise proper now could be throughout the ARV necessities set, and we’re demonstrating and testing the mixing and utilization of every a type of applied sciences.”
Nonetheless, questions stay in regards to the service’s requirement for an ARV and what number of automobiles could be referred to as for underneath the most recent iteration of Pressure Design 2030, which required the institution of a program supervisor for cellular reconnaissance to synchronize the “sun-down of the household of sunshine armored automobiles” and the fielding of recent techniques. (For extra on the Marine Corps’ new reconnaissance technique, see web page 22)
Stephen Bowdren, program government officer for land techniques at Marine Corps Methods Command, stated throughout a panel dialogue on the Fashionable Day Marine convention in June that there are nonetheless many inquiries to reply earlier than a call is made on the ARV.
“The Marine Corps will use the check outcomes from our aggressive prototyping efforts together with the ACV examine to find out the best way forward for Marine Corps reconnaissance functionality,” he stated. ND
Subjects: Tactical Wheeled Automobiles