US Army soldiers are in the midst of a five-month assessment of two different ‘light tank’ prototypes – one version by BAE Systems and the other by General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS). However, this testing phase began with vehicles from only one company – GDLS. The U.S. Army kicked off its Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) soldier vehicle assessment (SVA) on 4 January and it is anticipated to continue through to June. Under the larger programme, both BAE Systems and GDLS are under contract to deliver 12 MPF prototypes to the army and soldiers are slated to test out four vehicles of each variant.
General Dynamics Land Systems last year has delivered two Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) preproduction vehicles to the U.S. Army, and two more delivered by the end of December. These four vehicles complete the requirement of 12 MPF preproduction vehicles that General Dynamics Land Systems was contracted to produce as part of the Army’s ongoing competition. This deliveries come on time to support the Army’s Soldier Vehicle Assessment, despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic. General Dynamics Land Systems’ MPF approach leverages both recently developed and battle-tested designs. The highly advanced and powerful combat vehicle is designed to strengthen the U.S. Army’s Infantry Brigade Combat Teams.
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. 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 U.S. Army also wants to be able to carry at least two light tanks aboard a C-17 Globemaster III for airlift.