By Ashley JohnDecember 17, 2018
Washington, D.C. (Dec. 17, 2018) -- Today, the U.S. Army announced the selection of two Section 804 Middle Tier Acquisition (MTA) Rapid Prototyping contracts for the Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) program. The two companies awarded under the full and open, best value competition for integration of mature technologies are General Dynamic Land Systems, Inc. (Sterling Heights, Mich.) and BAE Systems Land & Armaments, LP (Sterling Heights, Mich.). Each MTA Rapid Prototyping contract does not exceed $376 million.
"I am tremendously proud of our Mobile Protected Firepower team," said Dr. Bruce Jette, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology. "By working closely with industry, they will be able to deliver this major improvement in lethality and maneuver support, embedded directly within our Infantry Brigade Combat Teams and ensuring continued combat overmatch at the lowest echelons of our formations. By taking full advantage of rapid prototyping and acquisitions authorities provided by the Congress, the Army will deliver this critical capability quickly and cost effectively."
At this time there is no combat vehicle platform providing a mobile, protected, direct, offensive fire capability meeting Army MPF requirements for the IBCT. The MPF will be able to neutralize enemy prepared positions and bunkers and defeat heavy machine guns and armored vehicle threats during offensive operations or when conducting defensive operations against attacking enemies.
"Today's announcement sets in motion a critical modernization effort for the Army, and really shows how Futures Command and the Army Acquisition Community will work hand in hand to provide our Soldiers the capabilities they need and deserve," said Gen. John M. Murray, commanding general for the Army Futures Command. "By accepting some short-term risk in schedule, our Infantry Brigade Combat Teams will soon receive a mobile, protected, long-range, precision direct fire capability that will assist in sustaining combat overmatch against near-peer competitors in a significantly reduced period of time."
Since its inception, the MPF program has represented an innovative approach to Army acquisition by focusing on delivering an essential new capability to the IBCTs under a significantly reduced timeline compared to traditional acquisition efforts.
With proliferation of advanced global technology, Army leadership is focused on accelerated acquisition to maintain overmatch.
"The expansion of capabilities by our potential adversaries' demands we modernize," said Brig. Gen. Ross Coffman, the director of the Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross Functional Team. "We must focus our vehicular modernization efforts to ensure combat vehicle overmatch…we must remain in a position of relative advantage on the future battlefield."
In order to combat these efforts and maintain military technological superiority and overmatch, Congress provided the Department of Defense with insightful tools designed to accelerate the acquisition process.
"Among these is the Congressional encouragement of Middle Tier Acquisition rapid prototyping and fielding," said Maj. Gen. Brian Cummings, the program executive officer for Ground Combat Systems. "It is about being able to prototype and field required capabilities on an accelerated schedule to get capability into Soldiers' hands quickly."
In September 2018 the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Army leadership approved Section 804 MTA Rapid Prototyping for MPF pre-Milestone C activities. This requires the fielding of a prototype that can be demonstrated in an operational environment within five years.
The MTA Rapid Prototyping contracts require delivery of 12 pre-production vehicles (each) for rigorous developmental and operational testing, and a Soldier Vehicle Assessment (SVA), to measure prototype performance to requirements and gain user feedback.
"The MPF will enable our IBCTs with a much needed decisive lethality and infantry support. Our incredible men and women that may serve in close combat deserve nothing less," said Coffman.
Near the end of the MTA rapid prototyping phase, the Army will conduct a source selection evaluation to select a single best value solution for low rate initial production (LRIP).
The Army Acquisition Objective for MPF is 504 vehicles, with 14 MPFs per IBCT. The targeted fielding for the First Unit Equipped is Fiscal Year 2025.