The U.S. Army has awarded ARM Automation, Carnegie Mellon Robotics (CR) Tactical, Dynovas, H.A. Eckhart and RE2 Robotics Small Business Innovation Research-based (SIBR) contracts to build prototypes intended to increase the rate of fire of self-propelled howitzers and in future systems, DefenseNews reported on Monday.
The contract awards are a part of the SPARTN Fire Faster project, one of three efforts the Army is engaged in to increase its artillery rate of fire. SPARTN stands for Small Business Innovation Research-based (SIBR) Special Program Awards for Required Technology Needs. SPARTN was the contracting mechanism for these awards.
The contracts require the five companies to develop concepts and detailed designs within two years. The companies could receive up to $2.5 million in contracts or matching funds. After the two years of development is over, Army officials will evaluate the prototypes' performance to determine the next steps.
One other effort the Army is pursuing is the Field Artillery Autonomous Resupply (FAAR). While the Fire Faster project involves the interior of Howitzer artillery, FAAR aims to solve inefficiencies in handling artillery through automation across the logistics chain.
In addition to the Fire Faster and FAAR efforts, the Army is working on an internally developed autoloader designed to be integrated into its Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) system, currently in development. The Army wants the ERCA system to be highly responsive to changes in battlefield situational awareness which requires a high rate of fire.
In support of the three artillery efforts, the Army will use soldiers to provide feedback for developers throughout the process. The user soldiers' feedback will help these prototypes and upgrades be proven effective for operational environments.