US Army unveils light tank candidate for US MPF Mobile Protected Firepower program


On April 22, 2020, during a visit of the U.S. secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy to GDLS (General Dynamics Land Systems) facility, the new light tank candidate for the Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) program of the U.S. Army was presented by the company.


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On April 22, 2020, General Dynamics showed its new light tank challenger for the Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) program of the U.S. Army. (Picture source: Flickr account of Hon. Ryan D. McCarthy, Secretary of the U.S. Army)


In September 2018 the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Army leadership approved Section 804 MTA Rapid Prototyping for MPF (Mobile Protected Firepower) pre-Milestone C activities. This required the fielding of a prototype that could be demonstrated in an operational environment within five years. The MTA Rapid Prototyping contracts required the delivery of 12 preproduction vehicles (each) for rigorous developmental and operational testing, and a Soldier Vehicle Assessment (SVA), to measure prototype performance to requirements and gain user feedback.

In December 2018, the US Army Contracting Command awarded development contracts to BAE Systems Land & Armaments and General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS). Each company would deliver 12 vehicles to the U.S. Army to be used to perform a full range of operational tests. Near the end of the MTA rapid prototyping phase, the U.S. Army would conduct a source selection evaluation to select a single best value solution for low rate initial production (LRIP).


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General Dynamics Land Systems light tank for the Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) program of the U.S. Army. (Picture source: Flickr account of Hon. Ryan D. McCarthy, Secretary of the U.S. Army)


The U.S. Army Acquisition Objective for MPF (Mobile Protected Firepower)is 504 vehicles, with 14 MPFs per IBCT. The targeted fielding for the First Unit Equipped is Fiscal Year 2025. General Dynamics Land Systems will now provide 12 preproduction vehicles and two ballistic hulls and turrets scheduled for March-September 2020.

The design of the General Dynamics MPF light tank is conventional with the driver and engine at the front, and the turret located at the rear of the hull. The turret architecture is based on the M1 Abrams tank using the M1A2 Sep V3 fire control system and CITV (Commander's Independent Thermal Viewer) armed with one 105 mm cannon. One 12.7mm heavy machine gun is mounted on the commander hatch.

The turret has a crew of three comprising commander, gunner and loader. It is interesting to notice that the U.S Army, like the German army (Bundeswehr) but unlike the Russian army with its T-14 Armata, sticks to its preference for a 4-man crew based on an operational observation: there are many tasks that require four people, like maintenance, guard duties, etc. Moreover, they state that a human loader is as efficient as a mechanical automatic loader, even if the weight of a 105mm round (shell) makes it hard to manipulate, particularly in case of a high rate of fire is needed.

The General Dynamics MPF tank is motorized with a Diesel engine. The turbine solution used on the Abrams MBT hasn’t been retained.


Happy new year 2020 and our best wishes for friends readers customers and family 925 001
General Dynamics Land Systems light tank project for the Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) program of the U.S. Army. (Picture source: Flickr account of Hon. Ryan D. McCarthy, Secretary of the U.S. Army)


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