Soldier touchpoint supports XM30 combat vehicle program

By Dan Heaton, Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross-Functional TeamOctober 19, 2023

Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment participate in a virtual experiment at the Detroit Arsenal in Warren, Michigan.
Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment participate in a virtual experiment at the Detroit Arsenal in Warren, Michigan. The Soldiers were providing input on possible crew configurations for the XM30 Combat Vehicle. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Dan Heaton) VIEW ORIGINAL

WARREN, Mich. — Soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division out of Fort Cavazos, Texas, helped the Army better understand how Armored Brigade Combat Teams may fight in the future, thanks to a Soldier touchpoint held in September at the Detroit Arsenal in Michigan.

The Soldiers from Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment supported a virtual experiment with the XM30 combat vehicle program, providing feedback on how Soldiers might best utilize the vehicle in a combat scenario.

“The input we gain from our Soldiers in these touchpoints is invaluable to the vehicle development process,” said Brig. Gen. Geoffrey Norman, director of the Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross-Functional Team, which is based at the Detroit Arsenal.

“These touchpoints are part of the iterative process between our Army engineers and our industry partners to ensure we deliver the vehicle the Army needs for 2030 and beyond.”

During the experiment, Soldiers from the platoon worked in a vehicle simulator, with Soldiers serving as the crew of the simulated XM30 and infantry dismounts who would be transported in the rear of the vehicle.

The XM30 is now under development and will replace the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle in the Army’s Armored Brigade Combat Teams in the future. The first XM30s will be delivered to the first unit equipped in fiscal year 2029. XM30 will have a crew of two Soldiers and will carry infantry Soldiers in the rear of the vehicle.

Virtual experimentation is helping the Army to determine what functions or tasks a member of the dismount team could perform to support the crew.

“We’re running through a variety of simulations and scenarios to assess the benefits of different configurations,” explained the first lieutenant who led the group of Soldiers participating in the virtual experiment. “Most of these Soldiers have live experience in Bradleys, they understand the mission sets and they know what they would like to see in the XM30.”

During the experiment, after the Soldiers participated in a mission scenario, engineers would immediately conduct an after-action interview, gathering input from the Soldiers on what worked and what didn’t. Other engineers studied a wide range of hard data, determining in which crew scenario the Soldiers were best able to meet mission goals.

“The engineers here in Detroit are really listening to what we have to say,” said a participating staff sergeant. “I think it is pretty exciting to see how the Army is taking what we’ve seen in the field and putting that together with this new technology to create a better system.”

Another staff sergeant who participated in the virtual experiment said that even though the XM30 is still in development — currently two companies are under contract by the Army to build and deliver physical prototypes by 2026 — “there are some things in this simulated version that I wish we had now, that will simplify tasks for the crew.”

The staff sergeant said all the Soldiers who participated in the touchpoint understood the important role they were playing.

“We’re making the connection between the user world and the influencer world. That’s pretty cool,” he said.

Norman said a number of additional Soldier touchpoints are scheduled throughout the XM30 development process.