The new mobile and survivable direct-fire combat vehicle that could boost the firepower of the U.S. Army light forces will begin the phase of evaluation in 2021.
According to a recent service statement, the Army will begin independent operational testing and evaluation of two light tank prototypes developed by the General Dynamics and BAE Systems under the Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) program in January 2021 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
The MPF program is the first under the Army Futures Command Cross-Functional Team for Next Generation Combat Vehicle that fills a critical capability gap.
Those prototypes will be put through the wringer in a series of lethality, survivability and mobility tests. An infantry brigade combat team will conduct an assessment to gain Soldier input.
The assessment will run through June 2021. Based on the results, one vendor will be chosen to begin producing the vehicles in fiscal 2022.
The ‘light tanks’ would help infantry Soldiers blast through obstacles, take out machine-gun nests and defend against other armored vehicles.
The ‘light tank’ will be a tracked vehicle with likely a 105 mm cannon and 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun for firepower.
At least two of them would need to fit on a C-17 cargo aircraft, and each vehicle would weigh less than 40 tons, much lighter than an M1 Abrams tank that can weigh 60 tons or more.