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Aerovironment and General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) are showing AUSA 2018 visitors and delegates the power of fully integrated system solutions, delivering next-generation capabilities through the fusion of UAS and armoured vehicle. In so doing, they are addressing the upcoming US Army Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) and US Marine Corps Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV) programmes.

By integrating the leading small tactical UAS and loitering missile systems with the leading armoured combat vehicles, our team will deliver a new level of battlefield lethality, survivability and combat effectiveness to protect and enable the warfighter,” commented Vice President and General Manager of AeroVironment’s UAS business, Kirk Flittie. “This enhanced integration will ensure precise, mobile lethality with increased automation, decreased workload, and fewer operators required for small drone and loitering missile systems deployment. AeroVironment and General Dynamics Land Systems are ready today to equip our warfighters with more lethality tomorrow.”

The purpose of this partnership is to deliver a decisive advantage to ground combatants, to see first and strike first, across the tactical landscape,” added US Vice President and General Manager of GDLS, Don Kotchman. “We’re confident this integrated capability, expanding the warfighter’s situational awareness, survivability and over-the-next-obstacle lethality, will define the market for years to come. This will be done without adding significant burden to the soldier or vehicle commander’s cognitive or physical workload. The benefits will be had in all environments, including urban, forest, desert or other terrain. This is the right partnership between industry leaders to offer real innovation to our customers.”

The Army’s NGCV programme will benefit dramatically from automated drone scout and precision loitering missile engagement technology tightly coupled into the GDLS armoured vehicle electronic architecture to rapidly geolocate and, if necessary, neutralise targets. The USMC ARV project has evolved well beyond a straightforward replacement for the Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) into a networked family of manned vehicles, ground robots and drones, collectively capable of not only reconnaissance but also electronic warfare and long-range precision strikes. The vehicle is designed to launch a drone, scout deep, and then deploy precision fire and electronic warfare capabilities. It will also have an open architecture design, upgraded with new technologies as they emerge.

The two companies are displaying a proposed integrated prototype system at AUSA that includes AeroVironment’s SWITCHBLADE loitering missile launched from a GRIFFIN III demonstrator, as well as a SHRIKE 2 vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) forward flight system that takes off and lands on the STRYKER A1 30mm prototype vehicle. The intent of the joint collaborative efforts is to develop a solution that will include the integration of AeroVironment’s SWITCHBLADE and SHRIKE 2 systems into prototype entrants to the ARV programme .Both efforts plan to tightly integrate AeroVironment’s systems into the backbone electronic architecture of the GDLS vehicles.

Integrating assets such as the AeroVironment SHRIKE into future armoured vehicles will inject flexibility and agility into small unit decision-making and mission execution. (Photo: AeroVironment)

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