US Army's New Combat Vehicle

This article first appeared in Aerospace Daily & Defense Report.

The U.S. Army is moving forward on its ground combat vehicle (GCV) program with an aggressive timeline and highly defined requirements for survivability, mobility and versatility.

The service wrapped up the last of three industry days in Michigan Dec. 3. The first, held Oct. 16 in Dearborn, presented high-level requirements and an acquisition strategy to more than 600 industry participants. The second industry day, held Nov. 23-24 in Warren, presented 325 industry participants from 247 companies with a statement of work and briefs on classified survivability requirements and a detailed acquisition schedule.

The last event targeted the government research and development community, and the requirements, acquisition, resourcing and contracting communities, according to Paul Mehney, the Army's representative for its Brigade Combat Team Modernization (BCTM) program. Attendees were provided a detailed statement of work, a detailed schedule including major milestones and the overarching capabilities document requirements.

The BCTM helps replace the now-defunct Future Combat Systems (FCS), a multifaceted super-program that included the erstwhile Manned Ground Vehicle. The new GCV is the MGV's successor.

"We stressed that the three most important requirements [for the GCV] are survivability, mobility and versatility," Mehney said. "Industry has to bring us a holistic survivability solution," to include armor, active protection systems and countermeasures. Concerning mobility, the vehicle must "have the urban mobility of a Stryker and the off-road mobility of a Bradley," he added. The versatility piece focuses on the vehicle's ability to accept easy upgrades post-production.

Although the Army has not placed weight or size restrictions on the future GCV, the vehicle will have to satisfy requirements that will end up dictating weight and size.

The GCV must be transportable by rail, C-17 or ship. It must hold a crew of three and a squad of nine. Additionally, there is an improvised explosive device (IED) survivability requirement and a high-level technology maturity requirement.

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-- Christian

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