Thursday, March 4, 2021

U.S. Army releases new ‘market survey’ in anticipation of light tank production

The U.S. Army this week released what it calls a “market survey” for companies interested in manufacturing new light tanks.

A market survey published Feb. 12 on the U.S. government’s main contracting website seeks the capability to manufacture future additional quantities of Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) production vehicles.

Within the program, the Program Executive Office for Ground Combat Systems (PEO GCS), Project Manager Mobile Protected Firepower (PM MPF) is conducting a market survey to collect written information from industry in determining current market manufacturing capability to produce MPF vehicles and provide STS.

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The MPF system provides early entry forces a mobile, protected, direct fire capability to apply immediate, lethal, long-range fires in the engagement of armored vehicles, hardened enemy fortifications, dismounted personnel and represents a long-term solution to the Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) capability.

The MPF system characteristics include the following:

  • Tracked vehicle with a minimum crew of three soldiers (commander, gunner, and driver);
  • Crew protection from small arms, heavy machine gun, overhead artillery, underbelly mine, side improvised explosive device (IED), and kinetic energy (KE) threats; utilizing ammunition available in the Department of Defense (DoD) inventory, a main gun applying precise, lethal, long-range fire;
  • Vehicle capable of performing while on the move, in day, night, and all-weather conditions;
  • Sufficient platform speed and mobility to successfully keep pace with other vehicles in the formation;
  • Communications system, which permits the simultaneous ability to transmit or receive both internal and external communications among all vehicle occupants;
  • Sufficient size, weight, power and cooling (SWaP-C) to facilitate integration of IBCT tactical network modernization technologies.

STS efforts for the MPF vehicle will primarily include logistic, engineering, and test support activities. Logistics support will include Supportability Analysis, Logistics Support Packages and Logistic Test Support, Provisioning requirements, Training Aids, On-site Field Service Representations, Technical Publications, and Maintenance requirements. Engineering support will include Systems Engineering, Cybersecurity, Software Engineering, Obsolescence Management, Configuration Management, Data Management, Engineering Change Proposals, and Process Engineering Changes.

Test support will include System Validation/Testing, Qualification Testing, Quality Assurance and a Reliability and Maintainability Program.

Under the MPF, the U.S. Army will choose the newest combat vehicle which is one of the most critical needs for the Army, particularly for its IBCT who lack protected, long range, cyber resilient precision direct fire capability for early entry operations. IBCTs require this capability to be employed in austere and unpredictable locations allowing them to avoid the enemy’s strengths and rapidly transition to offensive operations and exploit the initiative.

The Army expects to receive about 500 MPFs, which it will start fielding in fiscal 2025.
Each infantry brigade combat team will get their own 14-vehicle company for armor support.

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Executive Editor

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Colton Jones
Colton Jones is technology editor for Defenсe Blog. He has written about emerging technology in military magazines and elsewhere.

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