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Ground Combat Vehicle RFP Is Released

On Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010, the U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) released the much-anticipated final request for proposal (RFP) for the technology development (TD) phase of the Ground Combat Vehicle program.

“The Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) program is designed to develop the next generation Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) for the United States Army, making the program a key effort in Army modernization,” it noted, adding, “The GCV IFV will have greater survivability, infantry carrying ability and lethality than current force vehicles.”

Technology development, an iterative process to develop a balanced design and refine user requirements, is designed to allow integration of the “appropriate set of requirements into a full system design and demonstrate Critical Technology Elements (CTE’s) using test assets.”

The initial GCV variant developed under the program will be an IFV.

The Army intends to award “up to three” TD cost plus fixed fee contracts covering a TD phase for efforts to be performed within 27 months.

The TD phase will be followed by an engineering & manufacturing development (EMD) phase that will include “up to two” EMD contracts.

This will be followed by a production and deployment (P&D) phase in which the Army may award “one or more” contracts. According to the RFP, “The government intends to request separate pricing for up to a Level 3 Technical Data Package (TDP) to be evaluated as part of the award for P&D phase. It is anticipated that meeting delivery schedules and vehicle unit costs will be principal determining factors in P&D contract award.”

Current government program schedules reflect delivery of the first production vehicle seven years from the date of award of the TD phase contract.

“In meeting the defined requirements in the production contract, this first production vehicle will be a balanced design that is based upon risk reduction and requirements refinement accomplished during the TD and EMD phases,” the RFP adds.

In addition to risk reduction and resulting requirements refinement, the RFP reflects a flexible approach to parallel technologies. Evidence of this philosophy can be seen in the RFP “armor recipe,” which notes that the Army is also funding the development of lightweight high performance armors, adding, “the recipe of which may, at the discretion of the offeror, be utilized to provide the GCV protection levels required by the GCV IFV Performance Specification.”

Industry responses to the RFP must be submitted to the U.S. Army Contracting Command in Warren, Mich., no later than April 26, 2010.

The release of the final RFP has also prompted a flurry of last-minute industry teaming discussions and activities, with at least one more formal announcement of the teaming of two major defense contractors described as “imminent” as of the RFP release.

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