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Gerhard Heiming

The U.S. Army has published a new roadmap for the OMFV programme which, following intensive discussion with industry, provides for the start of series production in 2027 and Initial Operational Capability from 2028. This comes after the first tender for the high-priority programme to replace the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) saw only one bid received by the end of 2019, and this was technically inadequate, so the process was halted in January 2020. The starting point for the realisation plan is the re-prioritisation of the vehicle’s characteristic features with the survivability of the crew and the system at the forefront, superseding demands for mobility, efficiency, weight and (air) transportability.

A different approach

The entire development and procurement process relies heavily on dialogue with industry and the discussion that has been initiated is primarily aimed at a market overview of available technologies. It is expected to lead to a call for tenders in April 2021 with digital designs of combat vehicles being sought, five of which will be selected for virtual testing, with the simulations intended to show the operational added value that the new vehicles can develop both in the environment of New Generation Combat Vehicles (NGCV) and in interaction with existing equipment. Following the evaluation of the virtual vehicles, a maximum of three suppliers will be invited in April 2023 to refine their designs, taking the simulation results into account and building functional prototypes by July 2025. The U.S. Army has scheduled a period of more than one year for extensive testing of the demonstrators before it selects a manufacturer in January 2027 so, with a contract for Low-Rate Initial Production, series production can start the same year. The operational readiness of the first combat battalion with OMFV is expected by the end of 2028 and the contract for Full Rate series production, worth around €41bn, could be awarded by the end of 2029.

The requirement and contenders

The number of Bradley IFVs to be replaced exceeds 4,700 and the U.S. Army’s new approach is at least two years behind the original requirement so the involvement of the Army Futures Command, which was founded specifically for this purpose, should speed up the process. During the first approach in 2019, BAE Systems initially expressed interest with the CV 90 Mk IV but did not submit a bid, the Raytheon/Rheinmetall consortium’s offer of the K41 Lynx was not accepted for formal reasons and General Dynamics’ bid with the Griffin was rejected due to technical defects.

The full order of the priorities for the OMFV characteristics is as follows:

  1. Survivability
  2. Mobility
  3. Growth
  4. Lethality
  5. Weight
  6. Logistics
  7. Transportability
  8. Manning
  9. Training