PENTAGON: From hunting jungle animals to communicating across the ocean, US Army soldiers learned much in the first Pacific Pathways wargames that Iraq and Afghanistan never taught them. Those exercises are part of the service’s effort to reinvent itself as it shrinks, heading from a wartime peak of 570,000 to 450,000 or below. Instead of prolonged, large-scale… Keep reading →
This morning, a House Armed Services subcommittee passed its markup of its part of the annual defense bill that would — among many other things — freeze some funding for the Army’s Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle Program. AMPV is the service’s biggest weapons program left standing after sequestration’s budget cuts, and contractor General Dynamics had protested the competition… 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 →
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 →
PORTSMOUTH, VA: This is a Navy town, just minutes from the massive Atlantic Fleet base at Norfolk. But when Navy and Marine Corps leaders convened here yesterday for their annual conference on expeditionary warfare, traditionally a Navy-Marine affair, they reached out to the other services in unprecedented ways. Message No. 1: After 12 years of… 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 →
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 →
DepSecDef Carter Warns Of Training Shortfalls If Sequester Happens; HASC Hearing Marked By Shouting, SillinessBy Colin Clark
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 →
DepSecDef Carter @ #HASC says sequester wld mean cuts 4 F-35s, 1 P-8, 12 Strykers, 300 medium, heavy tactical vehicles CVN-78, LCS delays ColinClarkAol
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 →