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US Army lays out AMPV progression after delay

19th March 2021 - 16:30 GMT | by Tim Fish in Auckland

Low-rate initial production Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicles are now not expected to enter operational service with the US Army until 2023 at the earliest after operational testing was ‘pushed to the right’.

Delays to the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) programme mean that testing and production activities will stretch into 2022.

AMPV is one of four programmes in the Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) effort to modernise the US Army combat vehicle fleet over the next few years.

Speaking at the AUSA Global conference on 16 March, BG Richard Coffman, director of the NGCV Cross-Functional Team, said that operational testing has been ‘pushed to the right’.

He added that Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E) of the first LRIP vehicles would not start until January 2022.

IOT&E was originally planned for August 2021 with the first units to receive AMPVs from January 2022.

Now, however, army units are unlikely to receive AMPVs until 2023 at the earliest as replacements for the M113 armoured personnel carrier fleet.

Describing a ‘slow’ AMPV LRIP ramp-up, Coffman said there were ‘learning curves’ associated with new hull construction (most of the current combat fleet was built through the re-manufacture of hulls from the 1990s).

Additionally, the impact of COVID-19 on supply chains caused delays for manufacturer BAE Systems.

BAE Systems was awarded two contract modifications in February 2019 worth $575 million to deliver 64 LRIP AMPVs.

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Coffman said the army requires all 64 LRIP vehicle systems across the five mission variants (Mission Command, General Purpose, Mortar Carrier, Medical Evacuation and Medical Treatment).  

These are needed not only to support IOT&E but also to support data collection in production prove-out tests that validate the design and also to perform live-fire tests.

‘All those three things have to come together before we have a fieldable system at the end of the day,’ he said. ‘So our critical path is those 64 systems off the production line and the IOT&E. Some of those go off and run parallel performance reliability testing and some are already starting live-fire tests.’

Coffman expects these AMPVs to be delivered by November 2021, as deliveries have been consistent over the past four months. The indications are that production challenges are behind them and the inventory of LRIP vehicles is building up.

Once IOT&E (due for completion in March 2022), live-fire activity and parallel performance reliability assessments are finished, the first unit can be equipped and the AMPV programme will move into full production. The US Army plans to equip one Brigade Combat Team each year.

A BAE Systems spokesperson told Shephard that the company had supplied at least one of each AMPV variant to the army by the end of 2020 and about 20 have been delivered in total. 

Working with the US Army, the company noted in October ...

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