US Army tests Humvee robotic vehicle with ARAS machine gun

US Army specialists under the Wingman program are testing a robotic Humvee vehicle armed with an electrically-powered remote-controlled heavy machine gun.

According to experts, the army has lagged behind the Air Force and the Navy in the field of creating robotic combat systems, which is explained by the peculiarities of the environment: the soil with pits, trenches, deserts and urban landscape is much more difficult to conduct combat operations compared to sea and air.

The tests involved two Humvee vehicles - a manned M151 and an unmanned M1097. The M151 crew consists of three people: one is responsible for detecting targets using a laser rangefinder, the second is the driver and the third is the gunner.

Particular attention is paid to weapons. Weapons on an autonomous vehicle must have a high level of reliability, since there will be no one to service it in combat conditions. Initially, the Wingman program used remote-controlled machine guns M2 cal. 50 and M240 cal. 7, 62 mm, but later they had to be abandoned.

As a result, the choice fell on the ARAS cal. 7, 62 mm weighing 168 kg with 1500 rounds of ammunition. The machine gun is designed for circular firing, while the barrel can change the aiming angle by 90 degrees.

The automatic reloading system loads new ammunition in just 6 seconds. In addition, ARAS is paired with an autonomous remote interaction system that uses automatic detection of a specific target. The cost of the "Wingman" project, calculated for 3 years, is estimated at $ 20 million.