The United States Army is evaluating various unmanned systems to field alongside its forward-operating infantry elements. The "Ripsaw" unmanned tracked vehicle is up for consideration concerning possible front-line service. Developed by Howe & Howe Technologies (HH Technologies) - which also markets various compact manned / unmanned vehicles for different industries that include a self-powered wheelchair, entertainment van, fire-fighting vehicle, the protected SWAT-BOT, and EOD removal - the Ripsaw design showcases an aluminum frame, 2,000 pound cargo weight, 24 inch ground clearance, and paved road speeds of up to 95 miles per hour.
The Ripsaw is a unique development for military applications as it is compact enough to be air transportable and agile enough operate alongside infantry squads or lead convoys. As it is unmanned, there is no risk of life when entering hostile, contested urban areas where threats can lie most anywhere. One of the tested forms is an armed platform that gains a modest offensive capability. The chassis features a low-profile hull and the track system is seen along the hull sides as in a traditional tank. Off road performance is good with slopes up to 45-degrees being managed. A Duramax 6.6L diesel-fueled engine is the standard powerpack fitted and this outputs at 750 horsepower.
The Ripsaw family currently includes the original Ripsaw UGV prototype which featured 65 mile per hour road speeds. The Ripsaw MS1 was given improved off-road performance with a more powerful V8 engine installed. The Ripsaw MS2 became a dimensionally larger and faster development designed with more heavy duty service in mind - primarily centered on cargo hauling - and added a remote driver feature. This model was also given support for light armament mounting in the way of a remotely-operated machine guns (medium or heavy class), which utilized a self-loading ammunition feature, and launching Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs) as was the case with a trialled FGM-148 "Javelin". The Ripsaw MS3 is the latest in the product line and is being used to test a Remote Weapon Station (RWS). This model was showcased to U.S. Army authorities during October 2013 at Fort Benning.
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