GD Details Latest Work On ARV Prototype, Delivery Planned To Marine Corps In December
General Dynamics [GD] Land Systems (GDLS) is readying to begin initial testing of its Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV) prototype with the Marine Corps in September, before the company hands off the platform to the service in December ahead of the official six-month competitive evaluation effort.
Phil Skuta, GDLS’ director of strategy and business development for U.S. Marine Corps and Navy programs, told Defense Daily the company has utilized digital design over the last year to further refine its ARV offering, which builds off several years of research and development working with a technology demonstrator.
Skuta noted that GDLS, which manufactures the Marine Corps’ current Light Armored Vehicle-25s, began its own internal research and development work in anticipation of the Marines’ pursuit of an ARV-like platform as far as back as 2017, to include building a technology demonstrator.
GDLS then won an Office of Naval Research deal to use the technology demonstrator for a science and technology phase to inform the Marine Corps’ development of ARV requirements.
“During the science and technology phase, for instance, with our earlier technology demonstrator, we put about 60 total nautical miles in the Pacific Ocean on our vehicle,” Skuta said. “The testing we’ve done, that really gives us the confidence we have in risk reduction so the Marines know this vehicle is ready for production. We’ve done the testing on the C4/UAS integration, the swim testing, additional blast kinetic testing we do in-house on our own”
Since receiving the award last year for the official ARV competitive prototyping effort, worth $10.5 million, Skuta said GDLS’ has focused on digital design, System Integration Lab (SIL) work and risk reduction efforts to further refine its ARV offering to ensure the platform is ready for production if the Marine Corps moves in the direction.
The Marine Corps has designated a Command, Control, Communications and Computers/Unmanned Aerial Systems, or C4/UAS version of the ARV as the lead variant, which Skuta described as functioning like a “battlefield quarterback.”
“They want this ARV capability to be able to coordinate and control both onboard and off-board sensors and other means to collect the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance information, the un-crewed air and, eventually, ground systems and then connect to the broader reconnaissance and battlefield networks,” Skuta said.
“They’re forward thinking about the future battlefield and needing an exportable power activity, whether that’s for recharging or command post-type of power demands. So through our own strategic investments and our own internal research and development activity, we are looking at things from hybrid-electric propulsion for our vehicles to how we generate, store and distribute power on the battlefield.”
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BAE Systems recently told Defense Daily it’s eyeing the ARV program as an opportunity to build out additional variants of its own Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV), and the company showcased a C4/UAS version of the ACV and a new Organic Precision Fires concept vehicle at May’s Modern Day Marine conference in Washington, D.C. (Defense Daily, May 11).