WASHINGTON: General Dynamics has pulled back from the long-shot path of formal protests over the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV), but its quieter campaigns on Capitol Hill and in the Pentagon will continue — and those efforts may have better odds. At stake is the Army’s largest weapons program to survive sequestration (so far), its $6 billion replacement for… Keep reading →
On Monday, the top spokesman for General Dynamics Land Systems, Peter Keating, told me GDLS could not compete for the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (APMV) program unless the Army changed how it ran the competition. Today, as even Keating expected, the Army officially denied the GDLS protest. Breaking Defense obtained a copy of the decision just… Keep reading →
UPDATED Friday April 4th: Army denies General Dynamics protest General Dynamics Land Systems cannot and will not compete for the Army’s largest surviving weapons program, the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, unless the service changes how it is handling the program, GDLS’s senior spokesman told me yesterday afternoon. A GDLS withdrawal would be yet another embarrassment for… Keep reading →
Sometimes dark clouds really do have silver linings. The winding down of two wars and the automatic spending cuts called sequestration have been brutal for the Army budget. The service recently had to cancel its top-priority weapons program, the tank-like Ground Combat Vehicle. But even if sequestration continues, said one leading analyst, ground vehicle spending… Keep reading →
UPDATED 2:00 pm Tuesday with detailed 2015 budget figures WASHINGTON: The 2015 budget effectively kills the Army’s top priority weapons program, the 60-plus-ton Ground Combat Vehicle — as we’ve been predicting since November — but GCV did not die in vain, the Army’s acquisition chief insists. “We sacrificed the GCV” to save programs upgrading electronics… Keep reading →
Massive government documents typically hide some gold nuggets of information. In today’s report from the Pentagon’s independent Director of Operational Test & Evaluation, a famously tough grader known as DOT&E, there’s one detail that is going to make defense contractor BAE Systems very happy: “Results from the third underbody blast test also demonstrate that the… Keep reading →
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 →
Army issues draft RFP for Armored Multipurpose Vehicle (AMPV): http://http://contracting.tacom.army.mil/majorsys/ampv/RFPwebpage.htm @SydneyFreedberg
WASHINGTON: A $140 million congressional plus-up to the Army’s Bradley fighting vehicle program has made it past every legislative hurdle into the spending bill now headed for the Senate floor. But with amendments and House-Senate conference still to go, and with the Army still (at least officially) unenthused about the unrequested funds, Bradley manufacturer BAE is leaving nothing to chance and has launched a major campaign online, in the media, and on the Hill to ensure all goes well.
Looking ahead, the total 2013 Bradley bill of $248 million — half from the Pentagon’s initial request, half added by Congress — is just the down payment to keep BAE’s York, Penn. plant running until the Army starts building new armored vehicles circa 2017. While a quarter-billion a year is relatively modest in a Pentagon context, it’s scarce funds that the Army is reluctant to spend in the current budget crisis — even though it may cost more in the long term to shut York down only to reopen it three years later. Keep reading →
America’s Army has developed a bit of a split personality of late. On the one hand, the top brass has very publicly embraced the administration’s January 2012 strategic guidance that emphasizes “innovative, low-cost, and small-footprint approaches” and “building partner capacity” in lieu of large ground force deployments. Leaders from Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno on down talk up the Army’s capabilities in cyberspace, missile defense, seaborne operations, and small advisor teams.
At the same time, the service’s biggest new weapons program remains the controversial Ground Combat Vehicle, an estimated $34 billion program to build what could be 70-ton-plus behemoths optimized for all-out land war. “Low-cost” and “small-footprint” it ain’t. (“Innovative” it may be; read on). And GCV is just the tip of the armored iceberg. Keep reading →