Army Abruptly Cancels Ground Combat Vehicle Competition (Updated)

The Army has canceled the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) solicitation because the service decided, after an internal and external review, that the current Requests for Proposal (RFP) do not accurately reflect Army requirements and a changing acquisition strategy, sources tell us.

A contract for the new vehicle was very close to being awarded, we’re told. A restart of the GCV competition is expected fairly soon, a new RFP may be out within 60 days, and the Army intends to stay within the original seven year timeline to field a new vehicle.

A contentious debate has taken place among Army officials regarding the new infantry fighting vehicle’s lengthy requirements list, a debate fed by an Army and OSD staffed “Red Team” analysis which scrutinized vehicle proposals and the lethality of modern and future battlefields, as well as disagreement among leadership about the service’s GCV acquisition strategy. The new RFP will reflect the Red Team’s findings as well as the Army’s analysis of alternatives.

The proposed GCV, which is intended to replace the Army’s Bradley fleet, was getting a bit unwieldy, sources say, as builders attempted to meet the many requirements. The Army will issue a formal announcement this afternoon. Lawmakers (the few who are available in late August; more like their secretaries) were notified of the GCV cancellation this morning.

Updated: The GCV competition was cancelled so the Army can “better ensure an achievable, affordable, and timely infantry fighting vehicle,” according to an emailed Army announcement. The cancellation will result in a six month delay of the program, although the service intends to field a vehicle within seven years after a contract is awarded.

“In conjunction with the Red Team recommendations, the Army determined that it must revise the acquisition strategy to rely on mature technologies in order to reduce significant developmental risk over a seven year schedule following the initial contract award. The refined RFP will result in a vehicle that provides soldiers with critical armored protection in the modern combat environment.”

The emailed announcement says details of the specific RFP are still being finalized and the service expects to issue a new solicitation within the next 60 days.

— Greg Grant

57 Comments on "Army Abruptly Cancels Ground Combat Vehicle Competition (Updated)"

  1. But, can Block 2 feel… love… yet?

    Or was that only the XXI+ models?

    In all seriousness, i honestly do believe a restart was in order. I mean, using armor and whatnot for survivability only works so far; eventually itll be so slow someone can just walk alongside it with a plasma cutter…hell, look at ww2 Germany and their Maus prototypes; survivable to a point, but they were slow, couldnt travel too many places, and ultimately you built fewer of them with a larger amount of cash. And weapons will always be developed that can knock out armor.

    I fear that is what might happen here; though hopefully another prototype will come around that is…mobile…

    Or we could skip to the inevitable alternative and make mobile amphibious firebases…actually…

  2. My taxdollars say thank you!

    My guess is that they weren't happy with all the "bling" on the roof. Either that, or they finally figured out that they can say "No" to the defense industry

  3. Again ?!?!

  4. It is too light.

    The new competition will be for 150 ton fighting vehicles that have helicopter landing pads on the roof.

  5. General Motors submitted a proposal for armored fighting vehicles called Bolos. They are to have VLS support, MLRS, 155mm howitzers, LRAP and embark UAVs. GM promises that Block 2 models will be fully submersible.

  6. I think the defense contractors heads exploded when the insurgents used IED's that could shred a Stryker.

    "But we designed everything around 14.5 mm protection only!"

    Can the industry make something that will shrug off an RPG but weigh less than 30 tons?

    Skip the broadband- the grunts will just download porn with it.

  7. Upgrade the Bradley with a lighter, more powerful diesel enigine (they are out there). Intgrate the add-on belly armor into production, replace the TOW launcher with a SVML loaded with Javelins. Even with 4 javelins in an SVML it would be a significant weight savings over the TOW. Maybe switch to kevlar band tracks.

  8. Wait, isn't this what the Stryker platform was supposed to cover? Maybe they forget they developed it…

  9. Those are not two independent thermal imagers. They are Commander's Independent Viewers. They allow the operator a pivotable view of the battle space. One is for the vehicle commander. The other is for the squad leader in the hull, performing recon.

  10. Who is responsible this ****** rendering. Give me the plans and I’ll bust out a better one for them in no time.

  11. It would make more sense that troop carriers are of one type and convoy protection (anti-ied, anti-missiles) another type. A larger bomb zapper with DEW anti-projectile systems for and aft could provide protection and not create the hopeless task of an everything vehicle.

    Basic types with modularity seems best.

  12. Not so much weight or capability but my guess is the price tag; at least 5 mil per copy. That will not go very well, now. But it still could be a better deal than a major refit and upgrade of the BIFV.

  13. Love to see the Red Team's work. I think the consensus here probably mirrors the Army's decision that a do all platform was too big, too pricey, and probably not much better at anything than something more conventional and available OTS now.

  14. Yes I know I cut and pasted this from a post on the Marines EFV, but we should buy off the shelf, when SUPERIOR equipment is availible. The Patria Rosomak and the Hugglands-BAE CV-90 series of vehicles already have all of the features our various services are looking for and we ignore them to develope Multi-$billion projects that DO NOT work.

  15. On my last rotation to a-stan my company was paired up with a Polish Company equipped with the Rosomak(Wolverine) IFV. Now it was superior to the Stryker in almost everyway. I saw one get hit with a RPG-9 from 200 meter which detonated on the side of the drivers station, but did not penetrate. well we come to a river and we have to find a fiord point to cross. The Rosomak crews seal up a few hatches plunge into the river and start zipping around very fast looking for our crossing point. Mil specs say it can get 10Kts in the water. The line mechanics told us they can get 35KPH in the water once they tweak to motor. These guys said they water skied from them in Poland. Comes with 30mm, 40mm, and twin 120mortar(AMOS). Sights, C3 and Armor all first rate. Costs less than $3MillionUS with the mortar(most expensive). Buy them off the self. USMC problem solved. Now when a US defense Contractor gets involved we may be able to get them in 12 years for $30million a piece and it will not float(oh thats my Stryker).

  16. My guess is that they will purchase the rights to produce the Namer, hell they already have several production facilities for the Namer already set up in the U.S. .

    Hell that is basically a better IFV at around the same weight and already combat proven AND cheaper.

  17. Why are we asking a question that there's already an answer for? If you're engaging in COIN and facing IEDs, use the MRAPs that we bought at tremendous cost. This vehicle should be intended for standard conventional operations.

    One-size-fits-all options tend to get the disadvantages of both..

  18. Yah, I agree, I also bet that's the conclusion(s) drawn by the Red Team which is why make it having MRAP capabilities when you won't use it in that role anyway. If we are replacing the Bradley, then just replace the Bradley. Field a solid new IFV with the available cutting edge tech and I think we will be just fine, or grab something OTS that is upgradeable/scalable and you don't even have to wait 7 years to start fielding it.

  19. "The proposed GCV, which is intended to replace the Army’s Bradley fleet, was getting a bit unwieldy, sources say, as builders attempted to meet the many requirements."

    For that you get the "Understatement of the year" Award.

    A BIT unwiedly???

  20. I was intimately involved in submitting a proposal to the first RFP, after only a brief review of the survivability requirements it was obvious that they lacked the same protection demanded from industry for our current light vehicle fleet. This only further reinforced my belief that GCV was headed down the garden path where TACOM promised a fresh program, and then regurgitated FCS under another title, managed by the same determined group that drove FCS off a cliff.

  21. Thank god.
    This program was like a fat kid at Mcdonald's, eventually ya just just have to say NO MORE!

  22. Greg left out the part where they were torn between a new vehicle and upgrading the existing fleet. The existing fleet upgrade would be

    I think they are just going to upgrade the bradleys and strykers. will be something like the bradley technology demonstrator which seated 9 with a remote torrent and other stuff plus it still would be about 30 tons. They were already talking about giving it a 800hp engine already. Stryers to the lav-h or something. Its the cheapest and smartest thing to do we are in a recession. Why build new hulls when you can upgrade, and that still means jobs.

  23. Matthew G. Saroff | August 26, 2010 at 12:19 am | Reply

    I forgot to add. When their requirements had a submission tipping the scale at 70+ tons, it was time to try again.

  24. OTS is the better option. PUMA has modular armor.

    CV-90 has options like the Armadillo APC, the regular IFV and an armored gun system that can mount a 120mm cannon.

    What the heck was BAE thinking pitching another FCS? The Hagglunds CV-90 is a much better option.

  25. This is the kind of stuff that makes defense projects go deep into the red and get cancelled. The military can't make up its mind about what they want even after many millions have already been wasted. They always want the "latest and greatest" no matter how much it costs, and the taxpayers are the bigtime losers.

    IMO we need a lot more incremental improvements on existing platforms of all 3 services rather than these Rube Goldberg contraptions they keep coming up with.

  26. The fundamental flaw in the Army's acquisition strategy is that the Army has no capability to project or visualize the outcome of their requirements. So Industry's implementation of those requirements always comes back as a huge surprise. The Army's weight and cost goals for the cumulative pile of requirements is just wishful thinking. They think industry can violate the laws of physics just because the Army put constraints in an RFP.

    This happens because the Army is trying to cut corners and get this thing out fast in order to hold onto the GCV funding wedge. The right approach is to put the three big teams under contract to develop concepts for different sets of requirements. The three industry teams and the Army could iterate the requirements and conceptual designs until a low risk, combat effective set of requirement emerged.

    Then the Army would release those requirements in an RFP for the three way competition. There should be little surprise at that point. No "OMG. Is that what we asked for?"

  27. I'm sure its growing area of distribution and how far apart a unit is spread that is driving this.

  28. I think larger isn't warranted, but I do see one critical point… a fully remote turret cuts down on the turret weight which also cuts down on the necessary supports for the turret. Most everyone can agree that anything derived from GCV could really benefit from weight reduction.

  29. The army does what it's told. In contracting, it wastes the maximum amount of money because that's the profit margin that the owners of everything demand.

  30. Or we could go back to the tank/APC combo…though the Russians seem to have no problems putting a meaningful turret onto their IFVs without turning them into bloated animals.

  31. Okay, perhaps I don't have sufficient IQ to understand, but someone please explain why protection must be a function of every vehicle. If we don't have an answer for the escalation of threats, why not divide carriers and fighting machines from defensive machines? As in the case for LCS, the purpose seems lost in the attempt for an ultimate Swiss army knife.

  32. You clearly don't know what your talking about. There have been improvements in everything since the Bradley was introduced. New composite armors, better ERA, huge improvements in optics and sensors, reliable unmanned turrets (saving space in the hull), better engines and powerplants, more capable weapon systems, you name it. Though I will agree with you that certainly less has been invested in R&D since the end of the Cold War.

    FCS MGV was supposed to take advantage of some of these developments, no doubt GCV would as well, yet problem with GCV was that it too heavy. What other "lame defense systems" are on offer? I want to see the full extent of your ignorance.

  33. Seems like the Army should sit down and decide what they would like the vehicle to do, then go out and look at what there is OTS. Pick the OTS stuff they like, point to that and tell industry, can you make it better at X, Y, and Z? Then industry would probably be able to say, we can make X and Z a little better but Y might go up. They need to stop reinventing the wheel every time we go for a system.

  34. If i was to get a tank… ill go with
    http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20080605184

  35. New Englander | August 26, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Reply

    There was never any suggestion that the GCV could be air-landed by the venerable C-130, even the latest, more powerful C-130J model. C-130 transport was perhaps _the_ crucial heralded requirement for the FCS MGV, and one of its absolute failures to achieve given conflicting armor and thus weight requirements.

    Instead, the C-17A or C-5s are the target for any air-cargo above 40,000 lbs (realistically 32,000 lbs to 36,000) lbs. capacity of the C-130.

    Without being an apologist for the aerospace industry, or neglecting the ton-mile efficiency proposition of strategic sea-lift or pre-positioning, it makes one wonder why OSD's urge to terminate C-17 production is not more explicitly linked to GCV requirements.

  36. this really reminds me of a movie called "the pentagon wars" , a specific line that goes "what you want me to do , paint "im a troop carrier not a tank please dont shoot at me" in 51 languages?"

  37. "Just another new weapon cancelled in the obama disarmament"

    Not defending Obama, I don't like any side of politics, all parties and politicians are equally insane, more or less, but I just had to correct you on that one: it's not the 'crazy peacenik left' who is trying to disband the entire army who's responsible for the trimming of military fat. Maybe some, sure, but look to Sec Gates instead, you know, the awesome Def Sec appointed by Bush whos actually got a good head on his shoulders? The truth is there are plenty of right-wing military brass and top-tier officials who also see the need to consolidate and trim down the US armed forces, not only to make them leaner, meaner and more mobile but also to cut down on exorbitant and rising costs. But I guess you would prefer the country to go even broker just for the sake of being gung-ho and 'stickin it to the libs' while shooting our guns in the air?…

    "What if the IFV is split into two vehicles"

    Having two versions of the same IFV (one to carry troops the other to protect the first) would essentially mean building two vehicles to carry the troop load of just one. What if the 'protector' version breaks down? So on average, that's like building Bradleys that can only carry 3 troops apiece (they can currently carry 6) because every one of two made could hold 0, bringing the average down. Not very economic, or practical.

  38. Brian Mulholland | August 26, 2010 at 9:08 pm | Reply

    Might this reflect Secretary Gates' taking a hard look and counting how many technologies the GAO was going to describe as "not mature?"

    A Namer, by that or any other name (haw) is too heavy for any conceivable Hercules variant to carry. So if we go that route, we need a new aircraft to replace the C-130. Not in the budget.
    I wonder if the YC-15 could've lifted it?

  39. If I were a soldier I wouldn't care about the tracks, tanks treads are so WW1. Just put those automated turrets on the MRAPs, give them more powerful guns, make them faster and make them stronger.

  40. At this point I think we can blame all our problems on one person.

    But everyone, including me, has panned the GCV proposals, but what is the answer? Some day propulsion and armor and weapons may be lighter. But what is the solution today? Maybe two vehicles isn't the answer, maybe 3 or 4 would be better. Lighter, specialized modules, that snake thru the battlefield with more effect than 4 brads. What's your idea?

  41. Brian Mulholland | August 27, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Reply

    MRAPs and Strykers haven't handled Afghanistan's terrain as well as tanks and Bradleys … because the latter have tracks.

    Talk about a complete reversal from DefSec Rumsfeld's emphasis on lighter vehicles with a lot of communications and networking. ….. nothing replaces armor when you get hit.

  42. 60 billion for GM to build electric golf carts – not a cent for defense!

    Imam obama.

  43. http://www.armytimes.com/news/2010/08/army-ground

    If pigs had wings they could fly…..

  44. Just looking at what I assume was a proposed mock up of this thing I can only think….I can make something better using Lego!!! Doesn't simplicity mean anything any more? Good god the A-10 which is the most low tech combat aircraft in the USAF arsenal, and which no one wanted, is still around and still going through upgrades to keep it in service. Will someone keep facts like that in mind???

  45. Maybe one day in the future all our warfare mechanism will be antigravity flying machine.
    Have anyone seen a Nazi anti gravity flying machine? Take a look at this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnsgRbCKkN8 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jl0N-TUUuQ&fehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WNb-rUBlYk&fe

    This is home made anti gravity object: http://www.veoh.com/collection/ufo-channel3-canal

  46. Roland, the days after 9/11 the mean temperature across the US dropped. This was due to the cooling effect of airline exhaust. Livescience suggested otherwise. One plan for global cooling is to add reflectants to aviation fuel to utilize this concept.

    Anti-gravity? I'd love to see the carbon footprint of that endeavor. JSFs, hyper velocity weapons, DEW, rail, stealth, fuel cells, meta-material and plasma shielding even mininuclear energy reactors are all things that are here at least in proof of concept.

    The hardware in machines and ships we're going to crank out in billions will deploy over a decades while they're improved and tested. By then I hope the new generation technical wonder's integration will have been anticipated in both doctrine and machine. I have some doubts however about the level of smarts future soldiers will have to possess to master these things, unless we subcontract a level of "operators".

    I doubt you or I will be around to fly in anti-gravity saucers, but we'll likely see some unprecedented things…..

  47. Light tracks will probably be the way to go in Afghanistan, considering dirt roads and poor infrastructure. In general, wheeled vehicles seem to have higher ground clearance, which may help when it comes to IEDs. I suspect a V-hull on a tracked vehicle is probably not going to work so well by comparison, as it'll just vent the blast into the tracks and completely immobilize the vehicle. I wonder if the same is true of wheeled vehicles…

    At least in Afghanistan we aren't being idiots and sending unarmored Humvees to get blown up, followed by improvised modifications and armored Humvees, then MRAPs. The MRAP should keep American troops safe; but Petraeus already alluded to the fact that being safe doesn't mean we're going to win. We can hide out in Kabul and be safe all day and lose the war.

    Key West should probably go, and give the military free reign to procure without undue influence by the industry. This would probably mean pushing procurement decisions to lower ranks, below where the industry-types begin trolling for influence.

  48. The CTA 40mm turret was looked at by the Army in 1999, why they went with the Bushmaster is something to look in to.
    link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CTA_International

  49. Of course it's not ready for primetime as the current RFP fails to fulfill the attack helicopter role. Some career govt. official screwed up and neglected to include language indicating this thing also needed to also replace the AH-64.

  50. The thing is the technology is already out there. The only thing we need is to use it, test it and apply it than having our kids play around our design sketches.

  51. We can do better than what we have on the picture above, just use your immagination and adopt the technology that is already out there, who knows it could save us all one day.

  52. IF THEY ASKED…i’d suggest updates to s far
    as datacomm stuff and lots more big guns
    and longer range ammo.

    why change the basic platform which is
    so successful that 6,000 + of them are
    in existence?

    scrap the new platform costs and put
    more into the things that do the killing.

    the artists conceptions show these
    as having some puny undercalibured gun
    and a turret that makes most cell towers
    look small.

    much much too obvious a target.

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