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Army Awards GCV Technology Development Contracts

On Aug. 18, 2011, the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Warren, Mich., announced the award of two contracts for the technology development (TD) phase of the Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) [See “U.S. Army GCV RFP Is ‘On Again,’” posted Dec. 9, 2010]. The fixed-price-incentive-fee contracts were awarded to teams led by BAE Systems Land and Armaments, L.P. and General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc. The contract announcement went on to acknowledge that three bids had been received in response to the request for proposals.

The overall goal of the GCV IFV program is to develop and produce an affordable and operationally effective Infantry Fighting Vehicle in seven years.

In its award confirmation announcement, BAE Systems pointed to the fact that the company had teamed “with Northrop Grumman Corporation to offer a vehicle that provides exceptional growth and survivability at an affordable price.”

“The TD phase of the GCV program is a 24-month program directed at maturing the GCV proposal through the preliminary design review in anticipation of prototype builds during the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the program,” the announcement explained.

As described in the release, the BAE Systems-Northrop Grumman vehicle “features an adaptive platform that will remain relevant for decades to come, bringing more survivability, mobility and versatility to the Army and with levels of protection scalable to the demands of a variety of missions.”

“The team’s offering includes a hybrid electric drive propulsion system that enables exceptional force protection and mobility in a lower weight vehicle while provisioning for growth in power requirements as new technologies are matured and integrated into the platform. This technology allows for GCV to meet the demands of near term operations while providing a robust platform for future technology integration and growth at low risk and cost,” it adds.

In addition to BAE Systems (overall program management, systems integration, vehicle design, structure and logistical support as well as readiness and sustainment of the platform), other team members include:

  • Northrop Grumman – C4ISR lead;
  • QinetiQ – providing the key component of the hybrid electric drive propulsion system, the E-X-Drive®;
  • iRobot Corporation – serving as the unmanned ground vehicle integrator and enhancing future autonomous operations;
  • MTU – providing the engine and power generation for GCV , and;
  • Saft – providing the battery and energy storage system.

General Dynamics (prime contractor with overall responsibility for program management, vehicle design and integration) leads a team that includes:

  • Lockheed Martin – responsible for the turret, lethal and non-lethal effects and embedded training;
  • Raytheon Company – responsible for the RPG protection system, indirect-vision and sensor integration, and;
  • Tognum America, Inc. _ responsible for the power pack, which comprises the engine, transmission and generator.

“The General Dynamics team’s design is focused on delivering an affordable ground combat vehicle that provides optimal soldier protection and operational effectiveness,” said Steve Schultz, vice president, Ground Combat Vehicle Program for General Dynamics Land Systems. “Our design draws on affordable, mature technologies to provide protection, capacity for a nine-soldier squad, network interoperability, mobility and lethality that is unmatched by any existing infantry fighting vehicle.”

“Our approach capitalizes on the proven ability and competencies of each team member to meet the requirements for an integrated next-generation fighting system,” he added. “We are offering a balanced and affordable solution that meets the requirements of the U.S. Army.”

GD representatives say the purpose of the 24-month GCV TD phase is “to complete the preliminary design of the GCV and to reduce the risk of performance of the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the program. Deliverables for this contract include the Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) Protection Subsystem Prototype, the Mine Blast Subsystem Prototype Test Article, technical documentation and associated data.”

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