On April 22, 2020, General Dynamics Land Systems has demonstrated its newest light tank that was developed for the U.S Army Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) program. The new combat vehicle was showcased during the visit of Secretary of the Army, Hon. Ryan D. McCarthy, and Vice Chief of Staff of the Army General Joseph M. Martin, at the General Dynamics facility in Detriot, Mi. U.S. Army leadership visited General Dynamics and BAE Systems facilities in Detroit to inspect several promising military programs that continue to progress despite the COVID-19 pandemic. General Dynamics Land Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics, will now provide 12 preproduction vehicles and two ballistic hulls and turrets scheduled for March-September 2020.
The Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) is not the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV), which may eventually replace the Abrams tank and Bradley. The MPF would fill a capability gap left when the M551 Sheridan Armored Reconnaissance/Airborne Assault Vehicle was retired from regular service in 1996. About the same time that the M551 was retired, the Army was developing an M-8 Armored Gun System to replace it but eventually canceled to free up funding for other programs. In December 2018, the US Army Contracting Command selected BAE Systems Land & Armaments and General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) to deliver 12 MPF prototypes apiece to the service for operational testing and evaluation under two rapid prototyping contracts that totaled more than $750 million.
The U.S. Army, shifting its focus from counterinsurgency to high-intensity multi-domain operations with an eye on rivals China and Russia, wants contractors to deliver a vehicle that offers mobility, lethality, and survivability. The MPF light tanks would provide the firepower to breach heavily-fortified defensive positions, potentially in an area, such as Russian and Chinese anti-access zones, where the U.S. might not be able to achieve absolute air superiority. The final Mobile Protected Firepower light tank, which will be delivered to troops in 2025, will be a tracked vehicle with either a 105 mm or 120 mm cannon that can withstand an unspecified level of fire. The Army also wants to be able to carry at least two light tanks aboard a C-17 Globemaster III for airlift.
General Dynamics Land Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics, has unveiled a demonstrator of the new light tank called the Griffin II. The U.S. Army expects that the new “light tank” will be a 38-ton tracked armored vehicle capable to provide Soldiers with speed, protection, lethality, and the ability to wage a multidomain battle, working in concert with other ground forces to overwhelm the enemy with multiple simultaneous challenges. General Dynamics Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) light tank turret is a scaled-down version of the M1 Abrams turret using the M1A2 Sep V3 fire control system and commander’s independent thermal viewer armed with one 105 mm cannon. Technically, General Dynamics Mobile Protected Firepower is a tank, but the U.S. Army does not like the term “light tank.