By Kris OsbornDecember 20, 2010
ARLINGTON, Va. (Dec. 20, 2010) -- The Army plans to build a versatile, highly capable Ground Combat Vehicle in seven years that can deliver a nine-man squad under armor, across a full spectrum of military operations and protect against mines, Improvised Explosive Devices, Rocket-Propelled Grenades and a host of other threats, service leaders told members of industry Dec. 18, at a GCV pre-proposal conference in Dearborn, Mich.
"The Ground Combat Vehicle represents the centerpiece of the Army's long-term combat vehicle modernization strategy," said Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli.
"In the Request for Proposal, we clearly define our big four priorities: force protection, capacity, full-spectrum operations, timing - all based on the immediate need of size, weight and power," he said.
A key rationale for the conference was to afford an open dialogue between Army developers and their industry partners in order to answer questions and clearly define the parameters of the RFP.
"We must ensure we deliver a vehicle that provides a much-needed capability on time and on budget. Your (industry partners) input is critical to our success. We want to make sure we address any outstanding requests you have regarding the RFP," Chiarelli said.
Industry bidders have until Jan. 21 to submit proposals. The Army plans to award up to three 24-month Technology Demonstration contracts.
The TD phase will include three major reviews, according to the RFP: a System Requirements Review, System Functional Review and a Preliminary Design Review.
The RFP outlines the need for mature technology and clear cost goals. The RFP states that the government intends to hit a target unit manufacturing cost of $9-10.5 million per vehicle with operational sustainment costs of $200 per mile, Chiarelli said.
"All of this should be achieved without exceeding a contract ceiling of $450 million dollars," he added.
"Let me be clear, this is not to reduce contractor profitability, but rather to reduce costs and improve performance. We want to encourage creativity and innovation in today's environment," Chiarelli added.
The RFP calls for a "tiering" of requirements designed to provide industry with trade space or technological flexibility.
"Tiering supports trade space so that industry can balance cost schedule and technical risk in order to achieve the goal of delivering a vehicle in seven years" said Col. Andrew DiMarco, program manager, Ground Combat Vehicle.
During the conference, Army experts and program mangers provided industry-specific and detailed answers to a range of questions regarding the RFP. In total, Army experts provided answers to more than 200 questions.
"I'm looking forward to seeing the proposals come in January," DiMarco said.