The Army Wants Laser-Armed Drone Killers for its New ‘Fighting Vehicle’

The Army Wants Laser-Armed Drone Killers for its New ‘Fighting Vehicle’

Kris Osborn

Security,

But will it happen? 

(Washington, D.C.) Attacking enemy lines as a heavily up-gunned armored robot, firing lasers, knocking enemy drones out of the air with “elevating” weapons, controlling air and ground drones as networked “nodes” in war and using AI to organize long-range targeting data — are all desired attributes for the Army’s new infantry vehicle – the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle.

The new vehicle, slated to ultimately replace the decades-old Bradley, will achieve operational combat status as soon as 2026 — and, according to Army documents, pave the way forward into a new era of major, high-powered, mechanized warfare.

As it enters a new prototyping and test phase for the vehicle, the Army is further refining its ambitious and high-standard requirements. Service reports specify that the new OMFV must conduct unmanned remotely-controlled operations, carry up to six soldiers with a two-man crew and roll off an Air-Force C-17 in groups of two ready to fight in 15minutes. These specifications, right out of the box, immediately call for several unprecedented war-vehicle characteristics; they set the bar high, by requiring robotic-controls and a never-before-seen level of expeditionary requirements for mobility and rapid deployability.

Also, the new platform will need medium caliber cannons able to “elevate” against air threats, fire lasers, operate drones and shoot missiles in all weather conditions. “The platform should allow for mounted, dismount, and unmanned system target handover,” an Army report states.

The project has been underway for many years now after the Army asked industry to invest, innovate and push ahead of the technical curve. Interestingly, while the program began with three major industry competitors, it may have narrowed down to one – for the moment. BAE Systems, General Dynamics Land Systems and a Raytheon-Rheinmetall team all began developing platforms; since this time, BAE Systems withdrew its bid and, according to some reports, the Raytheon-Rheinmetall “Lynx” vehicle bid may be on hold from joining the next phase. Citing several news reports, such as Defense News and Breaking Defense, an Oct. 10 Congressional Research Service report says the Raytheon-Rheinmetall offer was disqualified due to not arriving on time. (this is reportedly due to challenges associated with transporting the vehicle from Germany).

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