US industry competes for Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle Autocannon

On February 29, 2024, the US Department of Defense (DoD) issued two contracts for the design of a prototype for an Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV) with a medium caliber automatic cannon.

Awarded to two US defense technology providers – Textronin a deal worth $11.8 million, and General Dynamics Land Systemsto a contract worth slightly less than $10.9 million – both are set to complete their plans by March 24, 2024.

The Army Contracting Command invested in the competition from “Fiscal year 2024 research, development test and evaluation, Marine Corps funds,” suggesting the future platform may provide an amphibious capability.

According to leading intelligence consultancy GlobalData, the US military operates various ground artillery systems, including 198 units of the M109A6 Paladin, 247 units of the latest M109A7 artillery, 1,420 units of the M2 Bradley vehicle, as well as 143 M7 Bradleys, among others. similar systems.

When it comes to autocannon, the German-based gun manufacturer, Rheinmetalldefines its own family of medium caliber autocannons within the 20 millimeter (mm) to 35mm caliber range.

Designed to maintain firepower, accuracy and reliability even under extreme environmental conditions, these weapons have excellent mass-to-performance ratios, compact design, long life and reduced recoil forces, the company describes.

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From GlobalData

The U.S. military’s inventory also has a wide range of multi-purpose armored vehicles, from numerous Humvees to Joint Light Tactical Vehicles, that can house its various artillery systems.

However, the stockpile appears to lack a dedicated identification platform – a possible gap that the State Department may be aiming to fill with these two competing plans.

An unexpected platform request

The Defense Department’s request for a new reconnaissance platform is unexpected given the Army’s commitment to a new modular and open systems approach. Essentially, it’s a cost-saving process that involves iteratively developing existing platforms while incorporating new capabilities.

This approach is best exemplified by the various versions of the Abrams main battle tank family, including the popular SEPv3 and M1A2, among others.

The US military already has the future XM30 infantry fighting vehicle and consideration of various forms of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) (for a hybrid force structure that no longer “exchanges blood for first contact”) in the pipeline.

While a manned reconnaissance platform would fulfill the Army’s request for a hybrid force alongside UGVs when approaching an adversary on the battlefield, at the same time, designing a new platform from scratch neglects the iterative development process that the Army also supports .

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