Hybrid-powered 30mm OMFV replaces US-legend Bradley AFV

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army released a request for proposal [RFP] for the detailed design, prototype build, and test efforts of the Optional Pilot Combat Vehicle [OMFV] program earlier this month. There are currently five candidates in the selection process for the new tracked platform weighing between 40 and 50 tons, which will replace the aging Bradley armored vehicles.

US received newest Bradley M2A4 with 25mm cannon and TOW ATM
Photo credit: Twitter

The new development, to which General Dynamics Land Systems [GDLS], American Rheinmetall Vehicles, BAE Systems, Point Blank Enterprises, and Oshkosh Defense are opting, must be armed with at least one 30 mm gun, although an objective requirement for 50 mm is envisaged. and inside it should be able to transport six soldiers plus two crew members.

Future Bradley replacements should have a modular, open system architecture so that they can be upgraded more easily in the future. It also highlights the request for silent monitoring and mobility capability, which suggests the vehicle will need to be equipped with a hybrid or electric drivetrain. Thus, it also helps to reduce the logistics footprint of the platform, which is also considered an important point of the future OMFV.

The goal of the open process is now to select up to three teams for phases 3 [detailed design] and 4 [prototyping] of the program. The first of these phases will take place between 2023 and 2024, with the second starting in 2025. Up to 11 prototypes are being considered.

If there is no hitch, the company to take over the program could be selected in the last quarter of 2027, and the first unit will arrive in 2029. A year later, production should already be at full capacity.

Increased competition

A previous edition of the OMFV program was canceled in 2020 after the North American company GDLS remained the only candidate. A few months earlier, the other company with options up to that point, the German-American Raytheon Rheinmetall Land Systems, had exhausted its ability to meet the specifications of a tender for which it had been expressly created and in which it was competing with its Lynx 41 model.

Britain’s BAE Systems, the manufacturer of the Bradley, previously withdrew from the program. Now all three faces off again in a competition revamped to encourage more competition and also featuring Point Blank Enterprises and Oshkosh Defense. This is a project formerly known as the Next Generation Combat Vehicle [NGCV].

Bradley's US infantry vehicle failed the tests
Bradley M2A4, Photo credit: Defense Post

The difference between the new plan and the cancellations two years ago is that at that time the bid was asked to include a physical vehicle from the start, while now five phases are planned, including prototyping preceded by an initial design and detailed design followed by a phase of testing and finally production.

The five companies mentioned have already been awarded their respective digital concept designs of the future optional manned combat vehicle, for a total of almost $300 million.


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