The Army’s work developing a fully autonomous turret is informing officials push to address logistics challenges for future weapon systems by building in new maintenance capabilities from initial technology stages, the service’s top acquisition official said Wednesday.

Bruce Jette, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, told attendees at an Association of the United States Army event that modernization programs will require new resupply and autoload tools from industry.

Dr. Bruce D. Jette, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Aquisition, Logistics and Technology), poses for his official portrait in the Army portrait studio at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., Jan. 2, 2018. (U.S. Army photo by Monica King)

“I want to make a turret than can find an enemy, generate a firing solution and engage the enemy faster than they can even realize that I’m present. That’s where I want to go,” Jette said. “If I’m going to do an autoloader, it becomes something else that I have to maintain. If I make a robotic loader, maybe it can load the system.”

Jette used the example of Army’s fully automated turret technology initiative to illustrate the emphasis on solving logistical challenges before programs move into development.

“There are huge advantages that all being, right now, hampered by a lack of logistics concepts. How do I load the vehicle? How about I have a robotic vehicle that refuels?” Jette said. “How about we think of logistics as an integrated component of how we design a weapon system. Maybe it can load itself, or one robot can load another robot.”

An autonomous turret would eventually lead to soldiers being taken out of those tanks, which Jette said creates the question of how maintenance would be performed moving forward.

“You want to know where the resistance is? If you take three people out of everyone of those tanks, who’s going to maintain the tank?” Jette said. “My answer is, what we’re going to do is think deeper about logistics.”

Jette called the Army’s current autoloader capability “big and clunky” and asked industry to think of logistics solutions as “combat enablers.”

The Army’s work on a technology demonstrator for a fully autonomous 30mm turret is also addressing programming challenges to ensure algorithms are built for targeting assessments and account for reload capacity, according to Jette.

“It has an ‘on’ switch. That’s it. You flip the button on, it starts hunting for targets,” Jette said. “Notice I didn’t say it asks to fire. It just shoots.”