BAE Systems Contract For FCS Armed Robotic Vehicle Rises to $311.3M
In an Aug. 15/05 release, BAE Systems notes that it received an April/05 contract modification worth a minimum of $122.3 million for the Armed Robotic Vehicle (ARV) program within the U.S. Army’s $120+ billion Future Combat Systems program. This contract modification, awarded April 6/05, increased the total authorized value of the System Development and Demonstration (SDD) contract from $189 million to $311.3 million. This could increase further to $320.5 million if $9.2 million in additional task orders are authorized.
The semi-autonomous ARV is the largest unmanned ground vehicle in the Army’s FCS program, and will be an integral platform within platoons and companies in the FCS-equipped Units of Action.
ARV is to be about the size of a large pickup truck and is intended to be highly deployable, either two at a time on C-130 airplanes or individually with CH-47 helicopters. It is intended to provide battlefield commanders with reconnaissance, surveillance, target acquisition, as well as assault firepower capabilities. The vehicle is envisioned as having semi-autonomous navigation and mission equipment operations, with man-in-the-loop weapon fire authorization via the C4ISR network.
In 2003 BAE Systems was selected by the FCS Lead System Integrators (Boeing and SAIC) to design and develop the two ARV variants:
The Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Target Acquisition (RSTA) variant will carry a cannon for self defense, disperse ground sensors, target locations for attack by other forces, act as a communications relay, and conduct battle damage assessments.
The Assault ARV variant is an up-gunned version that also adds anti-armor missiles like the Hellfire or Joint Common Missile. It will be used for some of the same missions as the RSTA version, and is also intended to fire weapons independently or in support of assaults by troops; and to occupy key terrain to provide over-watching surveillance and fire.
The two variants will share a common chassis.
Under the current modification, the ARV program has been accelerated and BAE Systems is now scheduled to field the first prototypes in 2010, with fielding to FCS-equipped Units of Action scheduled for 2012-2014. More prototypes will also be produced, and the period of performance has been extended through March 2013.
Additional Readings and Sources
- BAE Systems (Aug 15/05) – Corporate news release
- Army Magazine (July/05) –Unmanned Ground Vehicles
- GlobalSecurity.org – Armed Robotic Vehicle (ARV) UGV; Robotic Armored Assault System (RAAS)
- DARPA – FCS UGCV-PerceptOR Integration (UPI). PercepOR is an autonomous navigation system.