The U.S. Army wants contractors to deliver prototypes of the service branch’s future robotic, optionally-manned combat vehicles by 2019, Breaking Defense reported Thursday.
Brig. Gen. David Lesperance, head of the Army’s Cross-Functional Team on future ground vehicles, told reporters that defense contractors and “non-traditional companies” are currently developing concepts for the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle.
Lesperance added that NGCV program performers will conduct experimentation, modeling and simulation in the next six to 12 months.
He noted that he wants NGCV experimental prototypes to enter shakedown tests in 2019, then undergo full field tests with an operational combat unit in 2020.
The Army will gather soldiers’ feedback and refine the vehicle design before conducting a second round of field tests in 2022 and a third in 2024.
The new NGCV timeline is two years ahead of the original program schedule.
Lesperance said the new combat vehicles are designed to feature less weight and size than current platforms, as well as showcase optimized performance for urban combat.