The U.S. Army awarded two contracts for the technology development (TD) of the Ground Combat Vehicle Infantry Fighting Vehicle. The winners are General Dynamics Land Systems GDLS, awarded $440 million and an industry team lead by BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman (awarded $450 million). “These contractors have been selected to develop competitive, affordable and executable designs for a new Army Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) over the next 24 months.” the Army announced. The Army plans to buy around 1,800 GCVs to replace the aging Bradley Fighting Vehicles. The research and development associated with the program is expected to cost $7.6 billion.
A third team competing for the program was lead by SAIC, a company that joined the Boeing Company as lead system integrator of the deceased Future Combat Systems (FCS). The SAIC team also included Boeing, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall Defence as subcontractors. GDLS is the developer and manufacturer of the M-1 Abrams main battle tank and the Stryker light armored vehicles (based on the Swiss Piranha design); BAE Systems is the developer and manufacturer of the M2/M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicles and M-113 Armored Personnel carriers, the vehicles that are supporting all U.S. Army and Marine Corps land combat elements.
“Given the economic environment the nation currently faces, the Army recognizes that it is imperative to continually address requirements as we build a versatile, yet affordable, next-generation infantry fighting vehicle.” Secretary of the Army John McHugh said. The full development program will span over seven years. The purpose of the 24-month GCV TD phase is to complete the preliminary design of the GCV and to reduce the risk of performance of the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase of the program. “The Army remains committed to a seven-year schedule as the appropriate amount of time necessary to design, develop, build and test the next-generation infantry fighting vehicle.” Army officials confirmed.
The two contractors are expected to pursue different approaches, one feature a conventional diesel propelled armored vehicle with the other offering a hybrid-electrically propelled platform. Both manufacturers will also provide armor protection segments for testing Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) and mine blast protection. The Army wants the GCV to provide blast protection at a level equal to the MRAP. The Army also expects ‘hit avoidance’ (A.K.A. Active Protection Systems) to be featured as an integrated part of the system. The GDLS lead team will feature a system developed by Raytheon, the company responsible for the QuickKill system originally developed for the U.S.Army Ground Combat Systems program. The BAE/Northrop Grumman team has yet to introduce such system, but BAE has developed similar systems in the past.
“The General Dynamics team’s design is focused on delivering an affordable ground combat vehicle that provides optimal Soldier protection and operational effectiveness. Our design draws on affordable, mature technologies to provide protection, capacity for a nine-soldier squad, network interoperability, mobility and lethality that is unmatched by any existing infantry fighting vehicle,” said Steve Schultz, vice president, Ground Combat Vehicle Program for General Dynamics Land Systems.
General Dynamics Land Systems leads the first team as the prime contractor and has overall responsibility for program management, vehicle design and integration. General Dynamics also is responsible for vehicle structure and chassis, squad and crew environments and integrated survivability and safety. Lockheed Martin has responsibility for the turret, lethal and non-lethal effects and embedded training. Raytheon is responsible for the RPG protection system, indirect-vision and sensor integration. Tognum America has responsibility for the MTU based power pack, which comprises the engine, transmission and generator. General Dynamics C4 Systems leads the network and communications integrated product team and has responsibility for network integration, communications, computing and information assurance.
Work is being done at General Dynamics Land Systems sites in Sterling Heights, Mich., and Lima, Ohio; Lockheed Martin in Grand Prairie, Texas; Raytheon in McKinney and Plano, Texas; General Dynamics C4 Systems in Scottsdale, Ariz., Taunton, Mass., and Fort Wayne, Ind.; and Tognum America in Detroit, Mich., Aiken, S.C., and Friedrichshafen, Germany.
The BAE/Northrop Grumman team is pursuing an “affordable design that provides for maximum force protection and is built to accommodate future technological enhancements,” said Mark Signorelli, vice president and general manager of Weapon Systems at BAE Systems. He added that the team’s vehicle features an adaptive platform that will remain relevant for decades to come, bringing more survivability, mobility and versatility to the Army and with levels of protection scalable to the demands of a variety of missions. The team’s offering includes a hybrid electric drive propulsion system that enables exceptional force protection and mobility in a lower weight vehicle while provisioning for growth in power requirements as new technologies are matured and integrated into the platform. “This technology allows for GCV to meet the demands of near term operations while providing a robust platform for future technology integration and growth at low risk and cost.” The company’s announcement said.
BAE Systems is leading the team responsible for overall program management, systems integration, vehicle design, structure and logistical support as well as readiness and sustainment of the platform. Northrop Grumman serves as the C4ISR lead. QinetiQ provides the key component of the E-X-Drive hybrid electric propulsion system. iRobot serves as the unmanned ground vehicle integrator and will enhance future autonomous operations. MTU provides the diesel engine and power generation units for the vehicle with Saft providing the battery and energy storage component of the hybrid-electric system.
Work under the technology development phase will be performed at BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman sites in Sterling Heights and Troy, Michigan; Santa Clara and Carson, California; York, Pennsylvania; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Huntsville, Alabama.