By Paolo Valpolini
Leveraging the work made on its Nerva LG Nexter has developed a new unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), the Nerva XX; this was seen before, however the one visible in the company boot at the 22nd edition of Milipol Paris was the latest iteration of the system, which should be very close to the production one.
Before stepping to the new product, let’s mention the tracked version of the Nerva LG which was also exhibited at the Paris event. According to Nexter, in this configuration the Nerva LG is the fastest stair climber in its category, the platform weighing 5 kg. Recent improvements include the capability of generating mesh networking, considerably increasing the system range when operating in swarms, the single UGV range n line of sight being around 1 km. The Nerva LG on exhibition was in the configuration adopted by the French Army as part of its Scorpion programme; 56 such UGVs have been delivered to the French Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) that will test the system together with the STAT (Army Technical Service) and with operational units. The Nerva LGs will receive a number of different mission kits, the testing team being not only tasked to do technical trials but also to develop a doctrine for the use of those UGVs. The major user of the Nerva LG is Canada, an order for 88 such robots having been filed in 2019. Numerous other countries have the Nexter UGV in service, mostly with police SWAT teams. The Nerva LG can carry disruptors with weight up to 7 kg, however a heavier and more mobile system was needed, which led to the development of the Nerva XX.
This UGV exploits the same “brain” of its smaller brother, which is the most valuable part of the system and provides semi-autonomous capabilities. Not only, it also uses the same modular concept based on the 1-click system used to swap battery, wheels, modules, etc. as well as the same human machine interface. This also reduces considerably training issues for those units deploying both systems. Fitted with front and rear flippers, to provide it maximum mobility, it can reach 5 km/h, overcome a 200 mm obstacle and climb a 100% gradient. The platform developed by Nexter weighs 12.2 kg and can carry a payload up to 15 kg. It can typically carry up to 3 mission modules, the same in use on the Nerva LG. Fitted with front and rear colour and IR cameras, it is powered by two batteries that can be ht swapped, endurance ranging from 2.5 to 4 hours depending on the mission, 15 hours of silent watch being ensured by the battery package. The configuration shown at Milipol was that aimed at EOD/IED teams, fitted with an arm developed by ECA, which allows lifting up to 4.5 kg, the Nerva XX in this layout weighing less than 20 kg. According to Nexter officials the Nerva XX development has been finalised, the system being now in the validation phase. EDR On-Line understood that the French Army will be the launch customer, Canada and Portugal being also close to acquire this new UGV.
Photos by P. Valpolini