Final proposals for a competition for a promising infantry fighting vehicle for the US Army
October 16th, 22:59
At the AUSA-2021 annual exhibition and conference of the Association of the United States Army, held in Washington from October 11-13, 2021, materials on the final proposals of the participating companies for the new US Army competition for a promising infantry fighting vehicle under the program were demonstrated Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV).
Presented by BAE Systems Corporation at the US Army Association AUSA-2021 Conference and Exhibition in Washington, DC, RB301 Infantry Fighting Vehicle Technology Demonstrator based on the Bradley Next Generation project as the basis for a proposal for a new US Army Competition for a promising infantry fighting vehicle under the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle Program (OMFV). The sample is equipped with an Elbit Systems UT30 Mk 2 combat module with a 30-mm cannon and a Rafael Spike-LR2 ATGM, October 2021 (c) Matthew Beinart / www.defensedaily.com
Recall that the OMFV program is another, already the third programmatic attempt of the US Army to replace the BMP of the M2 Bradley family - after the Future Combat Systems (closed in 2009) and Ground Combat Vehicle (closed in 2014) programs. The new promising BMP program was launched in June 2018 as the Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV), but in October 2018 it was changed to the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV), representing a very ambitious project to create a promising "medium" tracked infantry fighting vehicle capable of operating both in conventional and unmanned versions, and designed to interact on the battlefield with the family of ground combat unmanned platforms Robotic Combat Vehicles (RCV) - "light", "medium" and "heavy" (the latter should be the same BMP in unmanned version). At the same time, the initial start of serial production of a new BMP under the OMFV program was planned for the 2026 financial year.
However, the first run under the OMFV program actually ended in failure.at the beginning of 2020, faced with the skepticism of the industry, which considered, in general, the requirements of the US Army for a promising BMP overstated and unrealistic, including in terms of timing and costs. At the same time, applicants were required to submit ready-made samples, developed and manufactured at their own expense. As a result, by the end of 2019, only one proposal was submitted to the stage of comparative tests according to the first edition (April 2019) of the OMFV program - the promising Griffin III tracked platform from General Dynamics Land Systems, which still did not meet the requirements of the program in terms of weight and security ...
As a result, the OMFV program was in uncertainty and was restarted with a revision by the American army of the requirements for a promising combat platform, as well as the strategy and procurement schedule. A preliminary new request for proposals document with significantly changed requirements for the OMFV program was published by the US Army in April 2020, while it was noted that "none of the requirements from the first request for proposals remain in force."
Published in April 2020, the new requirements for OMFV significantly changed the ranking of priorities for the combat characteristics of a promising infantry fighting vehicle, pushing survivability to the first position, and actually leaving aside the requirement of air transport. In the new list of requirements, vitality comes first, and mobility comes second. In fact, this was the signal for a significant increase in mass for the new BMP. Also, more realistic requirements for the industry were formulated, both in terms of time and technology.
As can be judged, in terms of specific requirements, the OMFV vehicle should be equipped with an uninhabited (but optionally / redundantly manned) combat module with a 50-mm advanced automatic cannon XM913 and must have a manned crew of two, housed in the hull, and a landing force of six people. The machine must be equipped with an active protection complex.
Application deadlinefor the relaunched OMFV tender expired on April 21, 2021. Proposals were submitted by seven companies, of which the US Army on July 23, 2021 selected five - General Dynamics Land Systems (a division of General Dynamics Corporation); BAE Systems in partnership with Israeli company Elbit Systems; Rheinmetall North America (American division of the German concern Rheinmetall) at the head of a consortium that also includes Raytheon Technologies, Textron and L3Harris Technologies corporations; Oshkosh Defense in partnership with the South Korean group Hanwha; and also a small company Point Blank Enterprises from Miami (apparently, to purely formally demonstrate admission to large programs of small and medium-sized companies). Two other smaller companies, Michigan-based Mettle Ops, were rejected (although it was initially announced to be admitted to the tender) and Roush Defense. Presumably, Point Blank Enterprises and Mettle Ops plan to act as actual providers of Israeli projects proposed by various Israeli companies for a competition for a promising Israeli tracked armored vehicle under the Carmel program.
The selected five participants were awarded contracts each worth $ 26.6 million to develop their designs for the so-called Concept Design Phase. Although contradictory information was circulated throughout the year about the specific shape of the submitted proposals of the participating companies for the new stage of the OMFV tender, now one exhibition-conference AUSA-2021 has made it possible to significantly clarify this issue.
- General Dynamics Land Systemsat AUSA-2021, it showed only a computer video and a poster image, but it became clear from them that the proposed machine is a version of the Katalyst Next Generation Electronic Architecture (NGEA) "concept" of the Katalyst Next Generation Electronic Architecture (NGEA) unmanned combat platform launched by advertising shortly before AUSA-2021. The OMFV proposal at this base will be habitable and have an entire massive weapon station (uninhabited / optionally inhabited) with a 50mm XM913 cannon. It is reported that the Katalyst NGEA platform is based on the Griffin IV project, which is a further development of the promising Griffin III tracked platform proposed for the first "run" under the OMFV program.
- Rheinmetallnow, specifically for the tender, OMFV has formed a special American company American Rheinmetall Vehicles, leading the Team Lynx consortium, of which, as already mentioned, Raytheon Technologies, Textron and L3Harris Technologies are also members. The consortium offers for the OMFV tender a variant of the already widely known new infantry fighting vehicle Rheinmetall KF41 Lynx. At AUSA-2021, a model of the proposed version of the KF41 Lynx BMP (Lynx OMFV Digital Design Concept) with the Rheinmetall LANCE 5030 combat module, all with the same 50-mm XM913 cannon, was presented.
- BAE Systemsin partnership with the Israeli company Elbit Systems, is now presenting a platform for the OMFV tender in the form of a deep modernization of the M2 Bradley BMP based on a modified hull and a modernized chassis currently used on the AMPV tracked armored personnel carrier (this project has been surfaced for several years and was previously known as Bradley Next Generation, first presented at the AUSA-2016 exhibition and conference). The vehicle should be equipped with a modified version of the Elbit Systems UT30 combat module. At AUSA-2021, a full-scale sample was presented - a "technology demonstrator" under the designation RB301 with an Elbit Systems UT30 Mk 2 combat module with a 30-mm cannon and a Rafael Spike-LR2 ATGM. It will, of course, be very ironic if, after 30 years of searching for a replacement for the Bradley BMP, the American army eventually chooses its next option.
- Oshkosh Defensein partnership with the South Korean group Hanwha, it acts with a platform based on the AS21 Redback BMP, now offered by Hanwha for an Australian tender (the AS21 itself is a modified version of the South Korean K21 BMP). At the same time, the combat module for Oshkosh Defense's proposal for the OMFV tender will be developed by the Israeli company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems as another variation of the Samson family of modules. The Oshkosh Defense and Hanwha consortium includes Israeli companies Rafael and Plasan, as well as Pratt Miller and QinetiQ. At AUSA-2021, only the poster image of the Oshkosh Defense proposal was presented.
- Point Blank Enterprises (PBE)in partnership with Keshik Mobile Power Systems and a number of other companies, it offers the concept of the LIBERTY platform, for which a hybrid electric drive and reduced combat weight are announced. PBE distributed several "conceptual renders" of its project back in the summer, similar in appearance to the proposals of Israeli developers for the Carmel project. In any case, apparently, the PBE proposal will remain only in the draft.
In total, R&D under the OMFV program from 2022 to 2026 is planned to be allocated $ 4.6 billion. th stage of the program).
At AUSA-2021, the director of the inter-service group for new generation combat vehicles, Major General Ross Coffman, said that the army intends to issue a draft version of a detailed request for proposals (requirements) to five participants in the OMFV program in the first quarter of 2022, on the basis of which to collect comments from industry representatives, to clarify requirements for the next phases and publish RFQs for phase 3 (detailed technical design) and phase 4 (prototype fabrication and testing) in May 2022.
In the second quarter of 2023, the US Army will select three competitors who will receive government funding to finalize their designs and build real working prototypes by July 2025.
The US Army will conduct comparative field tests of these prototypes for a year through July 2026 and will select one winner in January 2027. The selected BMP type is to go into pre-production (LRIP) in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2027, and the first OMFV battalion kit is to be delivered by September 2028. Full-scale production is expected to begin in the second quarter of fiscal 2030.