Friday, March 24, 2017
The Army Can't Figure Out What To Do With the Ripsaw "Tank" The speedy little vehicle seems useful, but for what?
The U.S. Army continues to test a tracked-vehicle veteran of reality TV but doesn't know what to do with it. The Army has tested the Ripsaw EV since 2010 but has yet to come up with a practical role for the quick little vehicle.
The Ripsaw "tank" was frequently seen on the reality TV show "Howe and Howe Tech," which followed the Maine-based company as it developed a variety of "extreme vehicles". Although the U.S. Army is very interested in the vehicle, with the Ripsaw being tested at a number of Army bases and research facilities between 2010 and 2017, that interest has not translated to government contracts.
The Ripsaw EV2 (Extreme Vehicle) is a small, low-profile tracked vehicle with a two-person cockpit. It is optionally crewed, meaning it can be driven by a human or controlled remotely. It can turn (or more accurately, rotate) on a dime and climb a 70 degree grade.The vehicle has a 600 horsepower Duramax diesel engine—nearly half the power of a 70-ton Abrams tank—making it capable of speeds over 60 miles an hour. Howe and Howe claim it is the fastest tracked vehicle ever built.
A lack of armor makes it less interesting as a crewed vehicle, but a remote-controlled, partially-autonomous Ripsaw could function in a variety of roles, including tank-killer, infantry support vehicle, resupply vehicle, and ambulance. According to Defensetech, Ripsaw is designed to accommodate the CROWS remotely-operated weapons station, but it also seems possible to outfit it with Javelin anti-tank missiles. In 2002, the Army showed off an unmanned version of the Ripsaw it was investigating for convoy security duties.
The U.S. Army isn't the only one investigating unmanned ground combat vehicles (UGCVs) News of that Russian defense contractor Kalashnikov is developing a 20-ton UGCV could give Ripsaw EV2 a boost. But for now, it's speeding toward nowhere in particular.
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