WASHINGTON: After 53 years in service, the Army’s M113 armored transport might finally get replaced. Last night, the Michigan-based Tank-Automotive Command (TACOM) issued a draft Request For Proposals for a new Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle. The final RFP is expected in June and the contract award in mid-2014. Variants of the General Dynamics Stryker and the BAE Bradley are the leading contenders. Our industry sources are still poring over thousands of pages of documentation, but here are the highlights.
The bottom line: almost $1.5 billion for over 300 vehicles — for a start. The RFP proposes a $1.46 billion contract in two phases: design, develop, and build 29 prototypes over four years — the $388 million engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase, 2014 through 2017; and then build up to 289 production models over three years — the $1.08 billion low-rate initial production (LRIP) phase, 2018-2020. Keep reading →
AUSA: BAE has had plenty on its plate lately, what with the failed merger with EADS and all. But at least BAE’s American division was the odds-on favorite for the Army’s Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV). That is, at least until last week. That’s when rival General Dynamics debuted a tracked version of its 8×8 wheeled Stryker at the Association of the US Army conference in Washington, DC.
The backstory: For decades, BAE and General Dynamics had pretty much split the US combat vehicle market. General Dynamics built the massive M1 Abrams main battle tank at its plant in Lima, Ohio, while BAE built the smaller but tank-like M2 Bradley troop carrier (technically, an “infantry fighting vehicle”) and its various variants in York, Penn. Production of new vehicles ceased years ago, but there’s a thriving business in upgrades, especially improved armor and electronics. Both firms worked on developing new vehicles for the Army’s Future Combat Systems program; when FCS failed, they both got contracts to build dueling prototypes for the Ground Combat Vehicle, a better-protected replacement for the Bradley, although the Army is now under some pressure to cut the competition short and pick a winner soon. Keep reading →
CAPITOL HILL: Congress and the Obama administration should thank their lucky stars that hardly anyone watched this morning’s House Armed Services Committee hearing about sequestration.
Everyone in the political arena will try to paint this one as the other’s fault. The GOP will blame the Democrats. The White House will blame the GOP. The GOP will blame the White House and the Democrats. And our country will remain mired in the same quagmire: our elected representatives lack the courage to fix our nation’s books. Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: On the margins of the $550-plus billion defense budget, the Army and the defense industry are quietly working on a program that could potentially replace 3,000 geriatric armored vehicles. So far, in this year’s budget, Congress is going along, but the real money — and the real battle — loom in the years to come.
The $1.7 billion Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) program is the Army’s blandly named initiative to replace the M113, an all-too-lightly armored transport — sometimes called a “battle taxi” — that first entered service in 1961. Over 3,000 M113 variants serve in a host of unglamorous but essential roles from troop carriers to armored ambulances to mobile command posts. Keep reading →
If you take the Administration’s word for it, the most recent defense budget represents a sober-minded and far-thinking strategic shift from the Middle East to Asia, creating a smaller, high-tech force oriented increasingly towards inter-state conflict and deterrence. Many are even comparing the Pentagon’s current vision with that of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who sought to transform the five-sided building away from Kosovo-style interventions and create an agile and sophisticated military oriented toward the Pacific. Keep reading →
Washington: The Army had a plan to revamp its ground combat fleet that would carry the service into the next decade.
Then the debt deal happened. Now, the Army is trying to figure out how to execute that strategy while meeting the $350 billion in defense cuts included in the White House debt reduction plan. Keep reading →
Washington: The Army’s ground combat vehicles are back in the Pentagon’s cross hairs, with a large-scale program review scheduled for August.
The DoD-led review, known in the Pentagon as a materiel development decision, will scrutinize most of the big-ticket programs in the service’s ground combat systems portfolio, except for ongoing efforts to recapitalize the Humvee. Keep reading →