Gladiator Tactical Unmanned Ground Vehicle

The Gladiator Tactical Unmanned Ground Vehicle program will support Marine Corps conduct of Ship To Objective Maneuver (STOM) through the use of a small-medium sized mobile robotic system to minimize risk and neutralize threats to Marines across the spectrum of conflict. Gladiator will perform scout/surveillance, NBC reconnaissance, direct fire, and personnel obstacle breaching missions in its basic configuration.

Essential Functions of the Gladiator system include:

  • Day/night remote visual acuity equal to that of an individual Marine using current image intensifying or thermal devices
  • Battlefield mobility capable of supporting dismounted units in all environments, including MOUT rubble
  • Modular design and incorporation of standard interfaces for attachment of future mission payloads
  • Remain operable and mission capable after being impacted by multiple 7.62mm small arms rounds at zero standoff distance.

The Gladiator Program is a U. S. Marine Corps initiative based on the Joint Army-Marine Corps Tactical Unmanned Vehicle (TUV) ORD originated by the Infantry School. MNS INT 12.1.1 dated 4 November 1993 validated the need for a tactical unmanned ground vehicle system and the Army approved the ORD in August 1995 and by the Marine Corps in May 1996. Changes in service deficiencies and required capabilities have led both services to reevaluate the existing ORD and to initiate efforts to revise or approve new Requirements Documents for robotic systems supporting the tactical commander. The Marine Corps has drafted the Gladiator ORD to support the dismounted infantry of the Marine Ground Combat Element with organic unmanned scout/surveillance capabilities. The system will reduce risk and neutralize threats to Marines across the full spectrum of conflict and range of military operations. Approval of the ORD occured in the second Quarter FY03. On 7 February 2005, Carnegie Mellon University's National Robotics Engineering Consortium and United Defense Industires was awarded a contract for over $26 million for the Systeme Development and Demonstration (SDD) phase of the Gladiator. Fielding of the Gladiator is estimated for 2006.

The Gladiator will provide Marine Corps forces with an unmanned, tele-operated/semi-autonomous ground vehicle for remoting combat tasks in order to reduce risk and neutralize threats. The primary function of the Gladiator is to provide the Ground Combat Element (GCE) with an unmanned RSTA, and scouting capability. The Gladiator system will also be capable of remotely employing the APOBS, JCAD, LVOSS, and direct fire weapons. The Gladiator is designed primarily to support dismounted infantry during the performance of their mission across the spectrum of conflict and range of military operations. Additionally, the Gladiator will deploy non-lethal area denial and crowd control weapons.

The Gladiator will be expeditionary in nature, inherently simple, durable, multi-functional, and easily transported and operated in the littoral battlespace. In the conduct of Operational Maneuver From The Sea (OMFTS), STOM, Sustained Operations Ashore (SOA), and Operations Other Than War (OOTW), the Gladiator will enhance the ability of Marines to accomplish assigned mission tasks. Operating just forward of the GCE units, the Gladiator will perform basic scouting/surveillance, obstacle breaching, and NBC reconnaissance tasks while permitting the operator to remain covered or concealed. The basic Marine Corps Gladiator will consist of a Mobile Base Unit (MBU), an OCU, and specific Mission Payload Modules (MPMs). Initial MPMs will include JCAD, APOBS, LVOSS, and direct fire (lethal and non-lethal). With development of future MPMs, the Gladiator operational capabilities may include Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition/designation (RSTA-D), engineer reconnaissance, communications relay, tactical deception, and counter sniper employment. Gladiator employment concepts include Offensive Operations, Defensive Operations, and OOTW.

The Gladiator TUGV is planned as a robust, compact, unmanned, tele-operated/semi-autonomous, multi-purpose ground RSTA vehicle system possessing a scouting and direct engagement capability. It will provide the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Ground Combat Element (GCE) with remote reconnaissance, surveillance, and target acquisition (RSTA), nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) reconnaissance, obstacle breaching, and direct fire capability to neutralize threats and reduce risk to the warfighter. The TUGV system will be fielded to infantry battalions and combat engineer companies and must be strategically, operationally, and tactically deployable worldwide in ground, aircraft and sea transport conveyances available to the MAGTF.

The configuration of the Gladiator system will consist of a highly mobile and survivable ground-based Mobile Base Unit (MBU), interchangeable Mission Payload Module (MPM) packages capable of supporting different mission requirements, and a man portable, hand held Operator Control Unit (OCU). The OCU will provide the Gladiator and its MPM's with tele-operational capability as well as data display, storage and dissemination. It is expected that the OCU will exchange video and data signals with the Gladiator via a non-tethered military link.

The Gladiator must be supportable within the existing Department of the Navy three-level maintenance concept (organizational, intermediate, and depot) using common tools and general-purpose test equipment to the maximum extent possible. The system cannot increase the expeditionary embarkation footprint or manpower requirements of the MAGTF and will be operated by designated, vice dedicated, personnel. The systems must be expeditionary in nature, inherently simple, durable, multi-functional, and easily transported and operated in littoral battlespace.

The primary function of the Gladiator system is to provide Marine Corps forces with an unmanned tele-operated/semi-autonomous ground vehicle for RSTA, NBC reconnaissance, obstacle breaching and direct fire capabilities. Operating forward of the GCE units, the TUGV will perform situational awareness and enemy neutralization tasks while permitting the operator to remain covered and concealed. The MBU will accommodate plug-and-play modular payloads, an operating day/night video camera, currently fielded thermal imaging equipment, GPS, laser rangefinder, and acoustic and chemical point detection systems. The TUGV will be operational and maintainable in all types of climates, weather conditions, and terrain where Marines deploy. The Gladiator will significantly enhance the ability of tactical units to rapidly detect, locate, track, and neutralize close-in threats (i.e., natural, man-made, or enemy forces).

In June 2004 Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) conducted a market survey to determine industry's capabilities to design, develop, produce, and support non-lethal mission payload modules (NLMPM) (sub-systems) that can be integrated initially on the Gladiator Tactical Unmanned Ground Vehicle (TUGV) and subsequently on other Department of Defense tactical vehicles and small watercraft. The TUGV is a single unmanned ground vehicle platform that will accommodate plug-and-fight mission modules providing Marine Forces with an unmanned, tele-operated / semi-autonomous ground vehicle for remoting combat tasks in order to reduce risk to friendly forces and neutralize threats.

Non-Lethal Weapons are defined as follows: "Weapons that are explicitly designed and primarily employed so as to incapacitate personnel or materiel, while minimizing fatalities, permanent injury to personnel, and undesired damage to property and the environment. Unlike conventional lethal weapons that destroy their targets principally through blast penetration and fragmentation, non-lethal weapons employ means other than gross physical destruction to prevent the target from functioning. Non-lethal weapons are intended to have one, or both, of the following characteristics: a) They have relatively reversible effects on personnel or materiel and, b) They affect objects differently within their area of influence."

The NLMPM may include the following components: non-lethal payload(s), launcher, mounts/brackets, electrical interface/cabling, sensor(s), and fire control interface. The government desires that the module be backward compatible with existing or planned non-lethal payloads/munitions. Remotely employed NLMPMs should assist the warfighter with mission tasks by enhancing engagements, providing a broader range of desired and precisely directed target effects, and significantly reducing injury to warfighters. They are envisioned to increase standoff ranges and provide the warfighter a range of capabilities that are offensive in nature, increasing range of delivery, high volume of non-lethal fire, screening, and/or communications.

The NLMPMs shall be expeditionary in design and support, inherently simple, durable, tailored, and easily integrated into the TUGV power and control systems, as well as have independent target tracking and acquisition, power, and control systems when mounted on other systems or in the ground emplaced mode. The NLMPMs will capitalize on the TUGV's internal design capabilities for range finding, power, maneuverability, etc. when attached to the TUGV. However, it is desirable that the NLMPMs be capable of being detached from the TUGV and mounted on other platforms and tactical vehicles such as the HMMWV, LAV, and potentially an Army Future Combat System (FCS) variant. In addition, the NLMPM should have the capability to be dismounted and employed independent of any platform (e.g., ground emplaced, mounted to a structure, etc.).

The TUGV is designed to support dismounted ground forces during the performance of their mission, across the spectrum of conflict and range of military operations. The NLMPM is intended to be capable of engaging targets, both point and area, at various ranges and elevations relative to the base mounting platform (TUGV, tactical vehicle, etc.), using a variety of non-lethal munitions and agents. The TUGV will execute the following non-lethal mission tasks: (a) support ground forces to disperse crowds who have become unruly and dangerous to the mission; (b) control groups of personnel by using area effects that force them to either move from one area to another or that corral them into one area; (c) control individuals by using point effects that cause individuals to comply with the desires of the force--ringleaders can be singled out of large groups and removed from the area, generally defusing the situation; (d) deny an area to personnel and vehicles by strategically positioning the TUGV and NLMPM such that it prevents passage thereby creating a clear area; and, (e) clearing large facilities can be accomplished by either driving the TUGV (or other tactical vehicle) into the facility or by engaging the facility from the outside if the non-lethal weapons (NLW) effects can penetrate the walls.

While the TUGV was still under development as of June 2004, for purposes of this RFI the following design parameters of the NLMPM apply: (a) the TUGV, with NLMPM, must possess the capability to traverse and search to acquire targets quickly in day or night, in all weather conditions, and deliver a high volume of non-lethal fire to dissuade individuals or groups while directly supporting dismounted infantry on urban and/or rough terrain; (b) shall be capable of being operated by the TUGV operator with the TUGV operator control unit (OCU) out to the same distances set in the TUGV ORD (a 2 km (threshold), 4 km (objective) radius of the OCU); (c) shall be capable of engaging targets at different elevations in relation to the position of the TUGV; (d) shall be capable of acquiring and engaging a point target at a minimum range of 50 meters (threshold), and 100 meters (objective); (e) shall be capable of engaging an area target 5m x 5m (threshold), 20m x 20m (objective) with a volume of non-lethal fire at a minimum range from the vehicle of 50 meters (threshold) to 100 meters (objective); (f) NLMPM consumable non-lethal munitions reloading shall be accomplished by one individual in less than 10 minutes (threshold), 5 minutes (objective); (g) shall be capable of being remotely employed, separate from the TUGV and the OCU; (h) shall not exceed the payload capacity of the TUGV (ideally no more than 300 lbs); and, (i) shall allow NLMPMs to be attached or detached in no more than 15 minutes by two Marines (threshold), 10 minutes (objective.)

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