The Australian Defence Force has trialled new ground uncrewed systems (GUS) during Exercise Talisman Sabre in Northern Australia, as international unmanned innovation begins to bear fruit.
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Australian Army soldiers from the 13th Engineer Regiment were able to use and evaluate the unmanned systems at RAAF Base Curtin near Derby, Western Australia on 26 July.
Exercise Talisman Sabre 2023, the largest Australia-US bilateral multilaterally conducted exercise, continues until 4 August with more than 30,000 military personnel from 13 nations participating in Queensland, Western Australia, the Northern Territory and NSW.
Other nations taking part in Talisman Sabre include Fiji, France, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany. The Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand are attending as observers.
In the field of unmanned land-based robotics, the Australian Army has previously conducted fire and manoeuvre demonstrations of two autonomous Australian Army M113 AS4 armoured vehicles in front of Department of Defence senior leadership at Majura Training Area in late 2019.
It’s understood in-service R400 EOS remote weapon stations have been integrated onto the M113 armoured personnel carriers to act as optionally crewed combat vehicles, and the Army expects to test fire the weapon system later this year.
Internationally, Rheinmetall’s Mission Master “Silent Partner” fully electric autonomous unmanned ground vehicle has recently undertaken UGV trials involving obstacle avoidance, speed, and manoeuvrability organised by the Estonian Military Academy and the Estonian Defence Forces in Estonia.
Eleven companies took part in the challenges over two days to display their UGVs to representative from more than 20 countries. Challenges included navigation of open fields with high grass, dense woodland, and rough terrains with limited visibility.
Alain Tremblay, Rheinmetall Canada innovation and robotics business development vice-president, said the Mission Master SP can be fitted with different modules for logistic transport, fire support or medical evacuation.
“These trials have shown just how far autonomous technology has come in recent years,” he said.
“We were proud to put our system to the test alongside some of the world’s most skilled developers. We are really pleased with our performance and look forward to seeing how our technology will evolve over the coming years.”
In the United States of America, contracts have been announced late last month on 31 July for the design and prototyping of a US Army optionally manned fighting vehicle, the XM30 Mechanized Infantry Combat Vehicle.
American Rheinmetall Vehicles, L3Harris Technologies, Team Lynx partners Textron Systems, Raytheon, Allison Transmission, and Anduril Industries will produce the vehicle design then build and test prototypes before a final contract is expected in 2027.
The XM30 is expected to replace the M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle as the US Army’s first ground combat vehicle designed using modern, digital engineering tools and techniques.
“We welcome the opportunity to continue working with our partners to produce the most advanced and most secure vehicles for our warfighters,” said Ed Zoiss, L3Harris space and airborne systems president.
“We are developing innovative technologies that will pave the way for future battlefield dominance.
“This includes a vehicle with superior protection, unsurpassed firepower, and unbeatable mobility that features L3Harris third-generation sights to identify threats better and earlier.”