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The Milrem Robotics Type-X Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) has completed its initial mobility tests. With the vehicle concept confirmed, the optimisation of the installed components begins with the combat variant currently at the top of the list.

The Type-X is a modular platform designed to complement the capability spectrum of manned battle tanks or IFVs. For fully or semi-autonomous operation, the Type-X has been given a hybrid drive, which, combined with the battery, fuel tank, electric motor and diesel engine, allows for optional near-silent driving; something the rubber track also contributes to. The range is given as approximately 600 km.

Type-X RCV Weapon Options

For armament, either a 50-mm or 30-mm cannon (equipped with the latter, it can be airdropped) is available, supplemented by a coaxial machine gun. In addition, the turret carries multiple rocket launchers on both sides as well as launchers for smoke and explosive grenades. At 12 tonnes combat weight, the robotic vehicle can be carried in transport aircraft such as the Lockheed Martin C-130J or Embraer KC-390. The Airbus A400M can carry two and the Boeing C-17 five.

Different levels of autonomy can be selected for the vehicle guidance. In addition to the follow-me function where the vehicle follows a preceding person or vehicle, waypoint navigation and remote control (man-in-the-loop) are the significant procedures. A new type of obstacle detection with artificial intelligence enables higher speeds in remote-controlled off-road operations. This enables the Type-X to take on the most dangerous tasks and positions during combat operations without having to expose personnel to danger. The low combat weight makes it possible to drive over bridges, paths and terrain sections with little load-bearing capacity.

For reliability, Milrem has integrated a component condition monitoring system into the Type-X that enables predictive maintenance to achieve long uninterrupted service lives. By using quick-replacement assemblies (Line Replacement Units), downtime for repairs remains short and life-cycle costs low. The development of the Type-X with the support of the armed forces of an unspecified country is expected to lead to a market-ready product by mid-2023.

Gerhard Heiming