The U.S. Army has long been on the market for an unmanned combat vehicle that can approach ground fighting in a similar fashion to how airborne drones have revolutionized air superiority. That is to say that the Army isn’t looking for thinking Terminator drones that can make life or death decisions on their own, but rather a reliable and effective platform that can be controlled by a team of operators safely working miles from the fight. It’s with that very goal in mind that Textron’s Howe & Howe division unveiled their Ripsaw M5 at the 2019 Association of the U.S. Army expo (AUSA).

The Ripsaw M5 is a ton-ton unmanned vehicle that’s set to compete for the Army’s Robotic Combat Vehicle – Medium contract, which is scheduled to begin field testing in 2021. A similar platform with fewer components will also compete for the Army’s light-vehicle contract as well. Using what is effectively the same platform with different loadouts for the two competitions can be seen as a smart move, as it would limit the supply-line needs of supporting the two vehicles.

“It’s very easy engineering-wise to move the Ripsaw into the heavier scale and completely fulfill the requirements for the medium and then downscale to the light,” Geoff Howe, senior vice president of the firm, told the media.