Defense Media Network

BAE Submits Bradley-based Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) Proposal

In what was hardly a surprise to any observers, BAE Systems has submitted their proposal for “a Bradley-based solution” to the U.S. Army’s Armored Muitl-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) solicitation to replace the Vietnam-era M113. The company submitted their AMPV bid on Wednesday, May 28, 2014.

“Today’s submission is the culmination of more than 15 years of concept development and validation and two years of internal development and responses to the Army to fill a critical capability gap for our soldiers,” said Mark Signorelli, vice president and general manager of Combat Vehicles at BAE Systems. “Our AMPV proposal provides an affordable low risk solution that is ready now and meets the Army’s survivability, force protection, and mobility requirements.”

Signorelli spoke with Defense Media Network about the BAE Systems proposal and the Army’s AMPV requirements.

Acknowledging that the solicitation had been “a long time in coming,” Signorelli expressed his belief that the Army had “used the time to improve their RFP and to make sure that they were getting the vehicle that they wanted at ‘the far end.’”

Acknowledging that the solicitation had been “a long time in coming,” Signorelli expressed his belief that the Army had “used the time to improve their RFP and to make sure that they were getting the vehicle that they wanted at ‘the far end.’”

“I do think that they have been pretty meticulous about putting the solicitation together,” he said, adding that over the last two years that process had included “a very active engagement with industry and potential bidders. They have had two RFIs [requests for information]; two industry days; and a couple of draft RFPs [requests for proposal] that have come out. And in every one of those they have solicited and received some pretty significant feedback from industry on how to structure the program.”

“In many cases what they have been able to do through that interchange is broadly open the aperture for potential solutions to meet their requirement,” he added. “I think they’ve done a real good job of looking through a lot of information coming from industry; a lot of recommendations around how to make the competition more meaningful and to allow for a broader range of potential solutions. So I think they’ve done a lot of things to really get this right.”

“In terms of the RFP I think they have done a good job,” he continued. “I think they have accommodated requests from industry. Certainly this last extension to the proposal submission date was in direct response, I believe, to an industry request. So I think they have gone about it very smartly.”

Choosing his words carefully, Signorelli said, “I can’t speak for what anybody else is going to offer but they have certainly challenged us to provide a very technically responsive offering; low risk; and they have made cost a point of the solicitation.”

Armored Muitl-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV)

BAE Systems’ Armored Muitl-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) proposal seeks to replace Vietnam-era M113s. Photo courtesy of Scott Gourley

Asked for clarification on the issue of cost, Signorelli acknowledged that it was not necessarily reflected in an average unit manufacturing cost target.

“But the way they have structured this competition, I believe, it makes ‘cost competitiveness’ a key discriminator in their evaluation,” he asserted. “It may not be as heavily weighted. It’s not the number one parameter. But I think that the way the cost volume responses are going to be required does make cost a premium. So it would not allow you to be very technically elegant and expensive and necessarily be competitive.”

In a possible response to rumblings of some sort of Stryker-based solution for a portion of the AMPV requirements, Signorelli was quick to emphasize that the “mandatory core requirements” for AMPV “really center around mobility and protection equivalent to the Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT).”

“The Army’s got a medium force,” he explained. “And they use that medium force – the Stryker brigades – in a certain way, based on their capabilities and the kind of threat environment that they would use them in. The ABCTs have very different performance characteristics and, while they can be effective in a medium weight environment, they are targeted at high intensity combat and their requirements are written around a balanced force to execute that kind of combat.”

“Now there are those who would say that the requirements look a lot like Bradley,” he noted. “But I would argue that they look a lot like Bradley because Bradley was intended to operate in that same environment as an Abrams tank or the rest of the Armored Brigade Combat Team [ABCT].”

“So if you’re going to be part of that force, whether you are an ambulance or an M1 tank, your protection requirements have got to be compatible. Ambulances are going to drive into those heavy combat environments. So I think they have maintained those requirements appropriately,” he said.

“Now there are those who would say that the requirements look a lot like Bradley,” he noted. “But I would argue that they look a lot like Bradley because Bradley was intended to operate in that same environment as an Abrams tank or the rest of the Armored Brigade Combat Team [ABCT].”

Acknowledging the presence of some Stryker-based nuclear, biological, chemical reconnaissance vehicles (NBCRVs) within Army ABCT formations, he pointed to it being “a very low density vehicle that’s used in a very specific way.”

“Again, based on my experience, you don’t send those guys out by themselves,” he said. “They are embedded in a much larger combat formation as they do their mission… And I also believe that if the Army had had a vehicle like an AMPV that they could put that equipment on their preference would be to have a more similar vehicle to fill that role.”

Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV)

The Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) proposed by BAE Systems on display at the Association of the U.S. Army’s 2013 Annual Meeting & Exposition, Washington, D.C., Oct. 21, 2013. BAE Systems photo

The BAE Systems AMPV team includes DRS Technologies, responsible for power management, distribution, and integration; Northrop Grumman Corporation, responsible for mission command mission equipment package design and integration; Air Methods Corporation, responsible for the design and integration of medical evacuation and treatment subsystems; and the Red River Army Depot, Texas, responsible for vehicle teardown and component remanufacture. The company’s offering includes powertrain and drivetrain components from Cummins, L3 Communications, and LOC Performance.

“In general we are offering a Bradley-based solution,” Signorelli said. “It actually has improved force protection over the most recent Bradley. And, while I don’t know what Stryker DVH [“Double-V Hull”] protection is, we believe that the underbody performance of our offering will be similar. So we think that we’re offering an improved capability to the Army while still maintaining the ballistic protection commonality with the Bradley force.”

“The most expensive components on a Bradley are the turret and turret components – the lethality components that are not included in AMPV. And our projections say that a Bradley-based AMPV would have about the same operating cost as an M113 does. So the Army is going to get sort of ‘improved performance for like money.’”

Taking exception to what he described as “some cost numbers bounced around,” he offered that he could not vouch for the origin of the information but that “some of the comparisons that say that a Bradley based AMPV would cost as much to operate as a Bradley are pretty ‘unfounded.’ The most expensive components on a Bradley are the turret and turret components – the lethality components that are not included in AMPV. And our projections say that a Bradley-based AMPV would have about the same operating cost as an M113 does. So the Army is going to get sort of ‘improved performance for like money.’”

Industry proposals for AMPV were due at the end of May with a current target for contract award of the 52-month engineering manufacturing and development phase around the middle of January 2015. Initial prototype delivery will take place 24 months after contract award.

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