25 May 2012 Enabling unmanned capabilities in the tactical wheeled vehicle fleet of the future
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From transporting troops and weapons systems to supplying beans, bullets, and Band-Aids to front-line warfighters, tactical wheeled vehicles serve as the materiel backbone anywhere there are boots on the ground. Drawing from the U.S. Army's Tactical Wheeled Vehicle Strategy and the Marine Corps Vision & Strategy 2025 reports, one may conclude that the services have modest expectations for the introduction of large unmanned ground systems into operational roles in the next 15 years. However, the Department of Defense has already invested considerably in the research and development of full-size UGVs-and commanders deployed in both Iraq and Afghanistan have advocated the urgent fielding of early incarnations of this technology, believing it could make a difference on their battlefields today. For military UGVs to evolve from mere tactical advantages into strategic assets with developed doctrine, they must become as trustworthy as a well-trained warfighter in performing their assigned task. Starting with the Marine Corps' ongoing Cargo Unmanned Ground Vehicle program as a baseline, and informed by feedback from previously deployed subject matter experts, this paper examines the gaps which presently exist in UGVs from a mission-capable perspective. It then considers viable near-term technical solutions to meet today's functional requirements, as well as long-term development strategies to enable truly robust performance. With future conflicts expected to be characterized by increasingly complex operational environments and a broad spectrum of rapidly adapting threats, one of the largest challenges for unmanned ground systems will be the ability to exhibit agility in unpredictable circumstances.
© (2012) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Noah Zych, Noah Zych, } "Enabling unmanned capabilities in the tactical wheeled vehicle fleet of the future", Proc. SPIE 8387, Unmanned Systems Technology XIV, 83871B (25 May 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.919575; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.919575

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