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Reconnaissance, Surveillance, Targeting Vehicle (RST-V)

Between 1997 and 2003, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Office of Naval Research, and the Marine Corps Systems Command developed the Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Targeting Vehicle (RST-V) as an Advanced Technology Demonstrator. The focus of the program was to assess three key attributes: a rotary wing transportable vehicle, a ground-up designed vehicle with a hybrid electric drive-train, and a classified survivability suite. Four (4) vehicles were built and tested by the vendor and the Government.

The US Marine Corps planned a new Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Targeting Vehicle (RST-V) that was intended to be a highly survivable and mobile V-22 internally transportable ground vehicle to perform long range Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Targeting Acquisition (RSTA) missions in cooperation with Small Unit Operations. High mobility and integrated survivability were key technology drivers to provide a leap-ahead capability over any fielded or add on systems for current vehicles. Sensors and C4I systems were non-developmental but would leverage existing electro-optic and communication programs.

The RST-V carried three to four Marines on long-range reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting missions. When operating using only stored electric power, the RST-V was capable of silent movement and silent watch. Its high mobility and integrated survivability system provided a leap-ahead capability over many fielded and add-on vehicle systems.

The RST-V platform provided a mobile quick deployment and deep insertion capable, multi-sensor, battlespace awareness asset for small unit tactical reconnaissance teams, fire support coordinators, and special reconnaissance forces. The vehicle hosted integrated precision geolocation, communication and RST sensor subsystems provided by DARPA's Small Unit Operations Program. Critical components and technologies included a high efficiency, reduced signature hybrid electric propulsion system with increased fuel economy; an advanced suspension to increase cross-country speed, and provide platform stabilization; an advanced integrated survivability suite; and the capability to operate in either a silent watch/silent movement or mechanical mode. The vehicle incorporated modularized design components to allow for signature management and rapid reconfiguration for mission tailoring and multiple purpose utility.

The objective of this ATD was to design, fabricate, test, and demonstrate platforms with advanced mobility (all terrain, highly agile, hybrid electric drive, exceeds HMMWV capabilities), survivability (suppression of all signatures, camouflage/concealment treatment, and silent operation), sensor suite (on-board, extended range, multi-spectral imaging and sensing, target acquisition, target designation), and command and control (long range, secure, positioning/navigating, cooperative engagement tactics) capabilities. The resulting vehicles must be capable of internal transport via a V-22 aircraft. The vehicles must be durable with extended sustainability and will be utilized for quick insertion, tactical and deep reconnaissance, and special forces operations. It was planned that the ATD will deliver at least two platforms before the end of fiscal year 2000 for testing and maturation.

The RST-V Advanced Technology Demonstration [ATD] technical objective was to develop, test, evaluate, and demonstrate a highly mobile, survivable scout vehicle that incorporates advanced power/propulsion, mobility, and survivability technologies and is MV-22 internally transportable. The technologies that this vehicle incorporate included: hybrid electric drive, ground-up design and integration of advanced survivability/signature management technologies, advanced mobility, and integrated communications and sensor packages to implement the RST mission. The government expected to demonstrate increased all terrain mobility, agility, survivability, payload capability, and twice the fuel economy of a current HMMWV in a MV-22 internally transportable package. In addition, the government intended to demonstrate that the incorporation of hybrid electric drive and advanced suspension technologies will yield increased cross country speed, improved acceleration, burst recharge ability for man portable batteries, silent watch and movement capability when operating on battery power only and increased electrical power for communications and sensor packages. These vehicles provided a sensor and communications platform which would support the DARPA Small Unit Operations (SUO), Marine Corps Advanced Warfighting Experiments, and the Navy/USMC Extending the Littoral Battlespace (ELB) ACTD for the ground mobility and RST missions. Technologies demonstrated and lessons learned from this program may serve as a catalyst for full-scale production of a family of RST-V type military scout vehicles.

The approach of the RST-V ATD was to identify and demonstrate advanced capabilities for light tactical and combat wheeled vehicles that fulfill future Marine Corps reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting missions supporting OMFTS. Multiple platforms were designed, fabricated, and tested with the eventual goal of full system capability and demonstration. The key to the success of the RST-V ATD was the integration of the technologies into a single MV-22 transportable platform. The program was divided into tasks that addressed key objectives in a systematic approach to technology development, integration and demonstration.

During Phase I, two contractor teams performed systems engineering studies and analyses, detailed design, and defined physical and functional hardware and software characteristics. Cost versus performance trade-off analyses were performed as part of the system/subsystem/component selection process.

The Joint Tactical Electric Vehicle, built DARPA's Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Technology Program, was used as a testbed for new components including traction motors and batteries. JTEV was designed from the ground up, using chassis and suspension technologies from desert race trucks. Rod Millen Special Vehicles provided chassis, suspension, and mobility systems, and Aerovironment, Inc. developed the hybrid-electric drivetrain.

COVER (Commander's Observation Vehicle for Elevated Reconnaissance) features an existing compact, electrically-tethered, ducted-fan lifting vehicle (Aerobot) mated to an existing highly-mobile, transportable vehicle (Flyer II ) that is representative of future scout and reconnaissance vehicles. The Phase I Design Study for DARPA by Perceptronics and its team members Moller International and Flyer Group includes review of mission applications, focusing on those currently identified for the RST-V and similar advanced vehicles.

On 10 November 1997 the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and US Marine Corps announced the two companies chosen for the first phase of the Joint Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Targeting Vehicle Advanced Technology Demonstrator program. Each company entered into a "Section 845/804 Other Transaction for Prototypes" agreement to receive approximately $3 million for the initial 13-month design phase. The selected companies are: Lockheed Martin Vought Systems, Grand Prairie, Texas, and General Dynamics Land Systems, Sterling Heights, Mich.

Each team designed a notional RST-V and conduct necessary systems engineering and capability trade-off studies. DoD provided a Systems Capability Document with system goals and three specific requirements -- that the vehicle be internally transportable in a V-22 aircraft, use a hybrid electric propulsion system, and include an integrated survivability suite. Beyond these three requirements, each team conducted trade-off studies to develop their optimum design.

Down selection to one contractor took place between Nov 98 and Jan 99 and resulted in a Phase II award on 20 Jan 99. DoD selected one team to build and test two vehicles in a 36-month second phase valued at approximately $22 million. In Phase II the winner would build two "Demonstrator" vehicles that will be tested by the contractor and the USMC under field conditions. This prototype is expected to participate in the USMC instrumented warfighting evaluation. Phase II involved the build and test of two prototypes over a three year period.

During Phase II, two (2) RST-V demonstrator and two (2) baseline platforms shall be fabricated after design approval and fabrication release. The demonstrators will be fabricated to incorporate mobility, sensor, communications and classified survivability systems. One baseline will be configured as a general purpose platform with an open cargo compartment while the second baseline will be configured as a strike variant. The baseline vehicles will be used for mobility and durability testing and for V-22 compatibility tests.

Testing was conducted in two stages beginning in FY00. Stage I commenced in 2000 with contractor testing, the purpose of which will be to demonstrate conformance with the system specification developed in Phase I. Stage II testing commenced in 2001 and consisted of Government demonstrations which addressed the vehicle's operational suitability with representative concepts of operation. This will address government technical demonstration objectives and it was intended that both demonstrator systems was available to participate in the CAPABLE WARRIOR demonstration in FY01.

Phase II consisted of a multi-year fabrication, testing, and demonstration effort. By the end of 2QFY00, the two demonstrator platforms were ready for commencement of contractor testing. By 4Q01, the two baseline platforms were available for test and evaluation. Integrated Product Team meetings and In-Process Reviews will continue throughout Phase II.

The RST-V ATD program produced two demonstration platforms and two baseline platforms. One of the baseline platforms was offered to the Program Manager - Combat Support and Logistics Equipment for evaluation in FY01/02. Two of the platforms participated in the Capable Warrior Advanced Warfighting Experiments (AWE) in FY01 and participated in the ITV test program. Technologies investigated and demonstrated and lessons learned during the RST-V program were shared with the ITV program.

The RST-V program transitioned to Program Manager - Combat Support and Logistics Equipment in support of the Joint USMC - USSOCOM Internally Transportable Vehicle (ITV) program. Details of the transition plan can be found in the document "RST-V Program Transition Plan" dated 25 June 1998. Survivability technologies were available for transition to PM-LAV, UGV, AAV, and MEFFV. Sensor and C4I technologies will be available for transition to TVRSTA and PM-LAV. The two demonstrator and two baseline vehicles transitioned to the ITV and Interim Fast Attack Vehicle (IFAV) programs.

The DARPA Electric and Hybrid Electric Vehicle program fed RST-V in the area of propulsion technologies. Additionally, the RST-V program will utilize applicable resources, technology, and lessons learned from the DARPA SUO program. The USMC kept the Army updated on the RST-V program because of the Army's desire for a lightweight future scout vehicle. There was a DARPA-Army-USMC letter of agreement for cooperative developments in electric drive applications.

This joint USMC/DARPA program utilizes Other Agreements Authority (Other transactions for Prototypes Section 845/804) for rapid prototyping and demonstrations. The USMC was technical lead and acquisition activity for the program and DARPA was the Program Manager. Under Section 845 ("Other Transactions for Prototypes") of Public Law 103-160, codified in 10 U.S.C. 2371, and subsequently modified in Section 804 of Public Law 104-201, DoD is able to support research and development by using streamlined procurement methods. The government retains maximum flexibility in these "other transactions" to apply only those policies, practices and standards that make sense on a case-by-case basis, and can, to a large extent, use generally accepted commercial practices. The use of Section 845/804 authorities allows the contractor team to be more creative in implementing a management framework and designing the vehicle system while allowing DoD to be a full Integrated Product Team member.

The Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) announced 24 January 2003 that during December, 2002 the RST-V (Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Targeting Vehicle) Program completed a three day, 1000 mile demonstration of extended range operations with one of its V-22 transportable hybrid-electric demonstrator vehicles. This vehicle was one of 4 being developed by General Dynamics Land Systems under joint sponsorship of DARPA and the US Marine Corps/Office of Naval Research.

The south to north route followed highways from Fort Benning, Georgia, to the GDLS facility in Muskegon, Michigan. The vehicle successfully traversed typical highway conditions, including; sustained highway speeds, mountain passes, rain, snow, and rough construction zones. Data collected and lessons learned during the drive will be applied to improving the vehicle's final configuration.

Several of the RST-V vehicles were being outfitted and tested under off-road conditions in preparation for mission profile testing by March 2003. At the end of the technology demonstration program in 2003, the system will be ready to enter the System Design and Development (SDD) phase of acquisition, subject to service interest.

The Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Targeting Vehicle (RST-V) program designed, developed, and tested/demonstrated four advanced hybrid electric drive, lightweight, highly maneuverable technology demonstrator vehicles capable of V-22 internal transport. The vehicle incorporated technological advancements in the areas of integrated survivability techniques and advanced suspension. The vehicle also hosts integrated precision geo-location, communication and Reconnaissance, Surveillance and Targeting sensor subsystems.

The RST-V is a 4x4 hybrid electric drive vehicle which can be equipped in a range of mission variants including, a forward observer/forward air control vehicle, reconnaissance, a light strike vehicle, battlefield ambulance, air defense, logistics vehicle, personnel carrier, anti-armor, mortar weapons carrier, Command Post variant, and mobile 60 kW generator. The vehicle can be transported in roll on/roll off mode in a CH-53, CH-47 helicopter, V-22 tiltrotor and C-130 Hercules.

The vehicle has an in-hub hybrid-electric drive that allows operations at double the range or twice the time on station compared to other current systems. The vehicle has demonstrated maximum road speeds of 70 miles per hour, and significant speeds over cross-country terrain. The hybrid drive provides a silent operation range, on batteries alone, of 20 miles. The hybrid power system also provides up to 60 kW of auxiliary power simplifying battlefield logistics by providing electrical power without towed generators. The in hub wheel drive approach is adaptable to a variety of vehicle designs and missions, promoting commonality of components between vehicle fleets. Modular designs of 6x6 and 8x8 diesel-electric and hybrid electric vehicles can be produced utilizing the same hardware.

The RST-V program carried advanced vehicle architecture, in-hub electric drive, hybrid power systems, advanced mobility design, and survivability technologies forward for application to the US Army's Future Combat System (FCS) and the US Marine Corps' MAGTF Expeditionary Family of Fighting Vehicle (MEFFV).

General Dynamics Land Systems Muskegon Technical Center based in Muskegon, Michigan was responsible for the vehicle design. The Land Systems Tallahassee Operations facility in Florida was responsible for C4 integration. The main subcontractors included Magnet Motor GmbH, based in Germany, which was responsible for the electric drives and controls, General Dynamics - Canada (formerly Computing Devices Canada), responsible for integration of the reconnaissance, surveillance and targeting systems and Signature Research which was carrying out the survivability subsystems integration.

In 2005, two of the four vehicles were upgraded with power export capability and are being fitted with an add-on armor capability. The vehicles were tested for electrical power output, suitability, safety, electronics and communication suite integration, and automotive performance. Upon successful demonstration in the United States, the two vehicles were to be sent to Operation Iraqi Freedom for up to a 3-month demonstration and experimentation to showcase their advanced capabilities.

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