Issue 54 Uncrewed Sytems Technology Feb/Mar 2024 uWare uOne UUV l Radio and telemetry l Rheinmetall Canada medevacs l UUVs insight DelltaHawk engine l IMU focus l Skygauge in operation l CES 2024 report l Blueflite l Hypersonic flight

46 Medical evacuations (or medevacs) in complex terrain present significant challenges to crewed vehicles, as drivers and pilots must negotiate tricky elevations, thickets, unstable ground and other hazards in their efforts to reach and then ferry casualties to safety. It is often impossible for wheeled and even rotor-wing vehicles to access the locations of casualties, and in desperate situations rescue coordinators will resort to more feasible approaches, even if these present a greater risk to first-responder crews. The military, for example, are often left with no other option than to send four personnel on foot to carry a wounded soldier to an ambulance or rally point. Lower-end uncrewed systems have recently been used in battlefield medevacs as teleoperated mules, carrying heavy equipment, ordnance and provisions for personnel in the field while being directed by a nearby operator using a ground control system (GCS), until the need arises to load a wounded comrade on to its back and direct it to safety. Autonomy is the natural next step for such vehicles, freeing up personnel in the field or enabling them to safely take cover from dangerous conditions, while uncrewed ground vehicles (UGVs) serve as autonomous mules or all-terrain ambulances, returning the wounded and other key assets to a forward operating base. These are the essential functions of Rheinmetall Canada’s Mission Master family of UGVs, three uncrewed, allterrain (including amphibious) vehicles that the company demonstrated for interested armed forces across key exercises in Australia and Estonia in the second half of 2023. Mission Master trio The three vehicles are, from the smallest to the largest, the Mission Master SP, the Mission Master CXT and the Mission Master XT. The SP is a battery-electric vehicle, measuring 2.95 x 1.55 x 1.33 m. It runs on eight wheels with a ground clearance of 24 cm and a typical weight of 1100 kg, as well as a maximum payload of 600 kg (or 300 kg if the user aims to exercise its amphibious capabilities). Its all-electric drivetrain of Li-ion batteries and a central electric motor drive is currently limited to a top speed of 30 kph, enabling an endurance of eight hours (at an operating speed of 10 kph) between charges and a maximum climbing angle of 40° on surfaces. The CXT measures 3.16 x 2.25 x 1.53 m and runs on a hybrid diesel-electric powertrain, giving it an operating range of 450 km between refuellings. This larger powertrain and its increased size over the SP result in a base weight of 2200 kg, as well as a payload capacity of 1000 kg. The XT, whose dimensions are 3.72 x 2.57 x 1.9 m, operates on a diesel engine with a hydrostatic transmission. Like the CXT, it has a 1000 kg payload capacity and a 2217 kg gross weight. Its powertrain and size give it 750 km of traversable distance between refuels. Additionally, both the CXT and XT are designed to run at a top speed of 40 kph. Rory Jackson discovers how intelligent UGVs are being used to rescue casualties in dangerous environments No risk rescues February/March 2024 | Uncrewed Systems Technology