US Army Downselects to Two for Light Tank Program

The US Army has announced that it has narrowed the choice for its new Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) program, awarding two Middle Tier Acquisition Rapid Prototyping contracts. BAE Systems and General Dynamics have been contracted to produce 12 prototypes for more extensive troop trials and evaluation.

The prototyping contracts will not exceed set limits, with BAE Systems awarded a hybrid firm-fixed-price and fixed-price-incentive contract for $375,932,453. While General Dynamics have been awarded a similar contract for $335,043,086.

Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, Dr. Bruce Jette, said in an Army statement:

“By working closely with industry, they will be able to deliver this major improvement in lethality and maneuver support, embedded directly within our Infantry Brigade Combat Teams and ensuring continued combat overmatch at the lowest echelons of our formations. By taking full advantage of rapid prototyping and acquisitions authorities provided by the Congress, the Army will deliver this critical capability quickly and cost effectively.”

The MPF entries must provide adequate mobility, firepower, protection and offensive capability and must be able to “neutralize enemy prepared positions and bunkers and defeat heavy machine guns and armored vehicle threats during offensive operations or when conducting defensive operations against attacking enemies.”

BAE’s entry has an autoloading M35 105mm cannon and a scalable armour system. BAE’s Deepak Bazaz, director of combat vehicles programs, said:

“Our offering integrates innovative technology that reduces the burden on the crew into a compact design deployable in areas that are hard to reach. We’re confident our design meets the requirements and the unique capabilities the IBCT needs.”

The entry from General Dynamics reportedly combines a modified M1 Abrams turret with the chassis from the UK’s AJAX AFV.

Brig. Gen. Ross Coffman, the director of the Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross Functional Team explained that the “MPF will enable our Infantry Brigade Combat Teams with a much needed decisive lethality and infantry support. Our incredible men and women that may serve in close combat deserve nothing less.”

The Army hope to procure up to 504 vehicles initially, deploying 14 to Infantry Brigade Combat Teams. The aim is to begin firlding the MPF in 2025.

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