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Report: Aussies eyeing U.S. GCV

Here's something that might help the Army's Ground Combat Vehicle survive into adulthood: The prospect for international export customers. Specifically, the Australian Army is said to be considering GCVs "for its infantry and cavalry forces beginning in 2020," Inside the Army reports today, although the full article is available to subscribers only. If the GCV program goes as today's Army brass hopes, it should just be hitting its stride by 2020, and if the Aussies have gotten in on the ground floor, they could be among the first international customers.

It's an interesting idea: If the Army roped in a set of international partners the way the U.S. did with its F-35 program, it could theoretically defray the cost per vehicle across all those clients and try to keep everything relatively inexpensive. The F-35 may not be a model program, but its client base has stayed together, and even some of the biggest international skeptics, including the Canadians, haven't pulled out of the club.

The difference is, the F-35 was designed from the beginning with export customers in mind. If the Aussies want to join the GCV party, and that entices others to join in, will it mean they'll just wait to buy whatever the Army builds, or will they try to get in their two cents early for features they'll eventually want in their own vehicle for use Down Under?

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