Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Army Ground Combat Vehicle Request for Proposal Released

Army Ground Combat Vehicle Request for Proposal Released
March 2, 2010

The Army released last Thursday a request for proposal (RFP) for the technology development phase of the Infantry Fighting Vehicle being developed under the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) effort. The Army has worked extensively with the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics to develop this program. The GCV acquisition program will follow Department of Defense best acquisition practices and be a competitive program with up to three contract awards. The GCV development effort will consist of three phases: technology development, engineering and manufacturing design and low rate initial production. The Army anticipates awarding the first contracts for the technology development phase in the fourth-quarter of fiscal 2010.

The technology development phase involves risk reduction, identification of technology demonstrations, competitive prototyping activities, and planned technical reviews. Industry will have 60 days to submit proposals to the Army for this development effort.

The Ground Combat Vehicle effort is part of a holistic Army plan to modernize its combat vehicle fleet. This includes incorporating Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles into the fleet while modernizing current vehicle fleets including Stryker. The first Ground Combat Vehicle will be an Infantry Fighting Vehicle offering a highly-survivable platform for delivering a nine-man infantry squad to the battlefield. The GCV is the first vehicle that will be designed from the ground up to operate in an improvised explosive device (IED) environment. It is envisioned to have greater lethality and ballistic protection than a Bradley, greater IED and mine protection than an MRAP, and the cross country mobility of an Abrams tank. The GCV will be highly survivable, mobile and versatile, but the Army has not set specific requirements such as weight, instead allowing industry to propose the best solution to meet the requirements.

Prior to the release of the RFP, the Army engaged with industry through a series of industry days to inform them of the government's intent for GCV development and gain their feedback from potential contractors about GCV requirements and emerging performance specifications. In response to these initiatives the Army received significant feedback and insights on requirements, growth, training, test and the program at large thereby informing the requirements process and indicating the potential for a competitive contracting environment.

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2 comments:

Eric and Amy said...

The military continues to struggle with developing an acquisition process that procures combat vehicles that are: survivable to the current threat and tomorrow’s threat; maneuverable in every possible geographical region and terrain condition; rapidly deployable; useful to more than one branch of service. Obviously this poses a great challenge as the most survivable vehicles tend not to be maneuverable or rapidly deployable, and the most maneuverable and deployable vehicles must assume survivability risks. A successful design in one theater does not guarantee success in another theater. The MRAP’s successes in Iraq on improved roads and flatter terrain did not translate into equivalent success in Afghanistan causing the Marine Corps to scale back its original procurement. Achieving agreement between the Marine and Army communities can also be problematic.

Scrapping the Future Combat System (FCS) and developing a GCV IFV that is more lethal and survivable than the Bradley and MRAP and as maneuverable as the M1A1 Abrams shows that the Army (and hopefully the joint community) finally appreciates a few lessons learned from the last decade of combat. First, the enemy will adapt to our superior technology. Second, the American public does not tolerate the horrific manner in which IEDs and RPGs kill soldiers in “combat” vehicles. Third, full spectrum operations (FSO) require that a unit be able to use the same equipment under all combat situations. Lastly, allowing private industry to compete to design a vehicle that can do nearly everything will result in the best design. By not specifying certain requirements, such as weight, companies will have to truly think outside the box to overcome the challenges of developing a highly lethal and survivable IFV that weighs less than a Bradley. Competition will prevent companies from wishing away vulnerabilities in their designs. They will have to develop the best product out there without the comfort of designing to specifications.

Eric and Amy said...

The military continues to struggle with developing an acquisition process that procures combat vehicles that are: survivable to the current threat and tomorrow’s threat; maneuverable in every possible geographical region and terrain condition; rapidly deployable; useful to more than one branch of service. Obviously this poses a great challenge as the most survivable vehicles tend not to be maneuverable or rapidly deployable, and the most maneuverable and deployable vehicles must assume survivability risks. A successful design in one theater does not guarantee success in another theater. The MRAP’s successes in Iraq on improved roads and flatter terrain did not translate into equivalent success in Afghanistan causing the Marine Corps to scale back its original procurement. Achieving agreement between the Marine and Army communities can also be problematic.
Scrapping the Future Combat System (FCS) and developing a GCV IFV that is more lethal and survivable than the Bradley and MRAP and as maneuverable as the M1A1 Abrams shows that the Army (and hopefully the joint community) finally appreciates a few lessons learned from the last decade of combat. First, the enemy will adapt to our superior technology. Second, the American public does not tolerate the horrific manner in which IEDs and RPGs kill soldiers in “combat” vehicles. Third, full spectrum operations (FSO) require that a unit be able to use the same equipment under all combat situations. Lastly, allowing private industry to compete to design a vehicle that can do nearly everything will result in the best design. By not specifying certain requirements, such as weight, companies will have to truly think outside the box to overcome the challenges of developing a highly lethal and survivable IFV that weighs less than a Bradley. Competition will prevent companies from wishing away vulnerabilities in their designs. They will have to develop the best product out there without the comfort of designing to specifications.

Major Eric McAllister
U.S. Army