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US Army delays GCV deadline

19th April 2010 - 16:45 by Andrew White in London

The US Army has delayed the deadline for the request for proposals (RfP) for its Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) programme in order to allow industry more time to provide the most ‘robust’ solutions for its next-generation of infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs).

Army officials have told LWI that the original deadline of 26 April has now been extended by 25 days due to the ‘complexity of this particular acquisition progamme’. Issued on 25 February, the RfP calls for responses from interested parties in the Technology Development (TD) phase of the programme which is expected to lead to a Milestone A decision in Q4 Financial Year (FY) 2010. A US Army spokesman said a decision would be expected by ‘late September’.

‘The extension was granted to provide industry with a bit more time to make sure we get good proposals. There has been a lot of dialogue with industry but the army has not received any proposals to date,’ he stated.

US Army requirements for the GCV have been described by industry as being rather vague but in response, the army spokesman told LWI that some aspects of the requirement were purposefully ‘open-ended’ in order to achieve the most ‘mature technical solutions across the vehicle platform’.

Requirements include a system capable of transporting an infantry squad with the protection of a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle or above; and increased off-road mobility compared to Bradley IFVs and Stryker infantry carrier vehicles. A tracked vehicle is also expected, according to industry’s interpretation of these requirements.

The winning vehicle will also comprise a modular armour solution and be transportable by C-17 and rail. The army would not comment on a gross vehicle weight and the spokesman said it would wait to see what technical solutions for survivability and transportability industry would put forward.

Officially, the US Army said; ‘Protected mobility is seen as essential for mission success and combat vehicles must give soldiers the option of manoeuvring off-road to avoid IEDs [improvised explosive devices] placed along predictable routes, and offer greater protection against IEDs when the mission requires travel on roads. These same vehicles must also provide better mobility to operate in cities.’

Beyond source selection for the TD phase of the programme, a preliminary design review is expected to be unveiled by the middle of FY12 with a Milestone B decision for the engineering and manufacturing phase due within the following 12 months. The first prototype vehicles are due to roll off the assembly line during FY15, the US Army added.

Interested parties are likely to include a BAE Systems joint venture with Northrop Grumman and a Lockheed Martin tie-up with General Dynamics Land Systems. Other companies which have acknowledged an interest in the programme include Boeing, Oshkosh Trucks, Textron, Force Protection and Navistar Defense. The US Army hopes to receive responses from up to seven parties for the initial two-year TD phase.

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