The U.S. Army has restarted its effort to replace the Cold War-era Bradley fighting vehicle with a new Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV), a key priority in the service's modernization strategy.
Program officials released a draft request for proposal (RFP) for the OMFV's Preliminary Digital Design phase, aimed at gathering additional industry feedback prior to the final RFP release for this phase later this year, according to a July 17 Army news release.
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In January, the service announced its plan to restart the high-priority effort after it received only one valid bid from General Dynamics for the $45 billion program. A competing bid from Raytheon and Germany's Rheinmetall was disqualified when Rheinmetall failed to ship a prototype of its Lynx KF41 Infantry Fighting Vehicle to the U.S. by the service's deadline.
Army acquisition officials told lawmakers in March that they may have rushed the prototyping effort, which discouraged many companies from competing.
The new approach is the beginning of a multi-phased effort that places more emphasis on communication with industry to define what OMFV capabilities are possible, based on existing and emerging technology.
"The Army is committed to open communication with industry to ensure the characteristics and eventual requirements of the OMFV are informed by technological advances," Brig. Gen. Ross Coffman, director of the Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross Functional Team, said in the release.
The Army wants OMFV, which is part of the Next Generation Combat Vehicle effort, to be outfitted with the communications, situational awareness gear and weapon systems to "deliver a decisive strike while manned or remote operated," according to the draft RFP.
"In the close fight, the OMFV enables the ability of squads to maneuver by detecting and destroying targets at a range beyond the enemy's capability," the document states.
The draft RFP will be open for 40 days to receive industry feedback, according to the release, which adds that the final RFP for the Preliminary Digital Design phase is scheduled to result in up to five contract awards in June 2021.
From there, the Army plans to conduct a detailed design phase that is scheduled to result in up to three contract awards and culminate in a critical design review before moving into the prototype, test and build phase, according to the draft RFP.
"We do not want to box industry into a solution," Maj. Gen. Brian P. Cummings, the head of the Army's Program Executive Officer for Ground Combat Systems, said in the release.
"We want to incentivize industry as they lean forward and think creatively to bring the Army innovative technologies and solutions necessary to achieve our vision -- both in terms of the ability to integrate newer technology we are seeing today and leaving space for future growth on the OMFV platform."
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at email@example.com.
Related: New Army Approach on Bradley Replacement: 'Lower the Bar' for Companies to Compete