Textron Systems has developed an all-electric version of the Ripsaw M5 unmanned ground vehicle (UGV). Delivery of the platform for experimentation and trials will take place in 2021.
The Textron Systems-led team, selected by the US Army in January 2020, are to provide four Robotic Combat Vehicles – Medium (RCV-M) with the Ripsaw M5 offering. In addition to the baseline hybrid electric drive (HED) platform, the team will also be delivering an all-electric version called the Ripsaw M5-E.
The US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center (CCDC, also known as DEVCOM) will receive an M5-E in a flat-deck configuration to support weapons integration testing. Deliveries will start in the second quarter of 2021.
The Ripsaw M5 platform is designed and built by Textron Systems' subsidiary Howe and Howe Inc, drawing from the latter’s experience in UGV and specialty vehicle development. Despite Howe and Howe’s knowledge, there are common issues associated with HED and electric drive (ED) development. One concern is ensuring there is sufficient battery capacity to power the electric motors.
A Textron spokesperson told Janes that the company’s experience “has allowed us to continually refine our ED] systems and incorporate these lessons learned into the M5-E, which is designed to provide an all-electric test bed for our customer”.
Future challenges for the HED/ED include electric efficiency and charge rates. Textron believes this will be mitigated by improved technology.
“Our current solution leverages increased fuel efficiency and is enabled by agile logistics, ensuring adequate fuel is available,” the spokesperson explained.