On a future battlefield, seven-ton tracked robots scout the enemy. Some of these Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) Light variants sweep paths through minefields. Others pop smoke to conceal the advance. Still others jam enemy transmissions and take potshots with anti-tank missiles.
Enemy return fire rips through the light robots' unarmored hulls, but their computer brains keep on transmitting target coordinates to the rest of the force. Precision-guided long-range shells pound the enemy position as larger robots move up, 10-ton mini-tanks called RCV-Mediums that boast machine-guns, missiles, and 30mm chainguns. And the third wave follows not far behind: a hard core of humans in M1 Abrams tanks, escorted by wolfpacks of cannon-toting 30-ton RCV-Heavies.
This vision is years from reality, but the Army is experimenting with surrogate unmanned vehicles. Contractor Qinetiq has already delivered the first of four experimental RCV-Lights; Textron is making four Mediums. Building a prototype Heavy awaits progress on Active Protection Systems, miniaturized missile defenses meant to make a modestly armored 30-ton vehicle as survivable in battle as a 70-ton main battle tank.
From Breaking Defense
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