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A “Bradley/Stryker Combo” Concept for AMPV?

One of the remaining bright spots among the shrinking category of U.S. Army acquisition programs is the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV), a service effort to replace its obsolete and tactically vulnerable fleet of M113-based vehicle platforms with approximately 2,900 more survivable and maintainable platforms in five different variants: mission command; medical evacuation; medical treatment; mortar carrier; and general purpose.

What’s new about AMPV is an emerging discussion focused on a vehicle combination that would optimize platform selection based on tactical role and mission while achieving logistics benefits through commonality with other platforms within the unit.

Traditional philosophies view vehicle fleets as homogenous entities based on maximum component commonality or similar visual battlefield profiles. What’s new about AMPV is an emerging discussion focused on a vehicle combination that would optimize platform selection based on tactical role and mission while achieving logistics benefits through commonality with other platforms within the unit.

M113 Mortar Carrier

A fireball engulfs a mortar round launched from an M113 mortar carrier, Fort Carson, Colo., March 19, 2014. The U.S. Army is seeking to replace the IED-vulnerable M113 with an as yet to be determined Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV). U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Grady Jones

It’s hardly surprising that industry teams have spent the last few years posturing for the long-awaited AMPV program competition with design offerings based on their company manufacturing expertise.

BAE Systems, for example, used venues like the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) annual meeting to exhibit a notional AMPV mortar carrier platform based on a modified Bradley fighting vehicle hull.

However, when the Army issued its AMPV Request for Proposals (RfPs) the month after the AUSA event, GDLS representatives characterized it as a competition “in name only,” asserting that the RfP requirement to offer an existing combat vehicle was biased toward a Bradley tracked vehicle solution and that the technical data for that platform was only available to the original equipment manufacturer (BAE Systems) and the Army.

Likewise, the General Dynamics Land Systems’ (GDLS’) Formation Based Decision Making models unveiled at last October’s AUSA gathering included options to replace the Army’s M113 fleet with Stryker-based AMPV platforms. Company representatives were able to bolster their argument with impressive theater logistics data coupled with the proven combat survivability of the new Stryker “Double-V Hull” (DVH) design.

However, when the Army issued its AMPV Request for Proposals (RfPs) the month after the AUSA event, GDLS representatives characterized it as a competition “in name only,” asserting that the RfP requirement to offer an existing combat vehicle was biased toward a Bradley tracked vehicle solution and that the technical data for that platform was only available to the original equipment manufacturer (BAE Systems) and the Army. The data situation contributed to what was described by some as insufficient time for others to compete.

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Scott Gourley is a former U.S. Army officer and the author of more than 1,500...