Raytheon Rheinmetall Land Systems to re-compete with Lynx KF41 IFV modified for US Army OMFV program

After GDLS' Griffin III was selected as the sole valid candidate for the US Army's Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) competition aiming at replacing the M2 Bradley IFV (see what Army Recognition published on the basis of a U.S. Congress report of April 16, 2020). According to a news published on May 5, 2020, on Jane's defense news website, Raytheon (USA) and Rheinmetall Defence (Germany) will come back with a new modified version of the KF41 Lynx tracked armored IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) that will respond to the new requests of U.S. Army's OMFV program. 

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KF-41 Lynx tracked armored IFV Infantry Fighting Vehicle that was presented at AUSA defense exhibition (Picture source Twitter account Raytheon)

Both companies are keeping their Raytheon Rheinmetall Land Systems joint venture operational and are working with the U.S Army on the way to re-enter the competition, considering that their candidate was simply unable to be taken into consideration for non-critical reasons: "[Our proposal] is not going to be the Lynx in its current form, as everybody saw at [the Association of the US Army conference] two years ago," told Matthew Warnick, the American Rheinmetall Vehicles managing director, to Jane’s. "This is going to be revised and evolved based on the final RFP [request for proposal] but it's a great starting point given its next-generation attributes to meet the specific US Army requirements."

Senior army leaders at the time defended their decision to cut Raytheon Rheinmetall Land Systems from the OMFV prototyping competition, as well as their aggressive schedule and requirements. However, they later determined that GDLS's bid sample had a 'responsive issue', and halted the program in order to devise a revamped approach that will delay fielding the first tranche of vehicles from fiscal year (FY) 2026 until FY 2028.

In the U.S. Congress report of April 16, 2020, Raytheon/Rheinmetall had proposed its Lynx vehicle. The vehicle will be able to mount a 50 mm cannon and thermal sights and could accommodate both APS and UAVs. Raytheon states that the Lynx can accommodate a nine-soldier infantry squad according to the requirements of the U.S. Army OMFV program.

Reportedly, the U.S. Army disqualified the Raytheon/Rheinmetall bid because it failed to deliver a single OMFV prototype by October 1, 2019, as stipulated in the RFP, meaning only a single vendor—General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS)—was left to compete for the EMD contract. Supposedly, Rheinmetall was unable to ship its Lynx prototype from Germany (although Rheinmetall shipped it to the United States in 2018) and asked the Army for a four-week extension so it could ship the vehicle to Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland or, if that was not acceptable, arrange for the Army to take possession of the vehicle in Germany instead. Both requests by Rheinmetall were reportedly denied by the U.S. Army. Reportedly, the Army Acquisition Authority—the ASA (ALT)—was willing to grant a four-week extension, but Army Futures Command (AFC) insisted the U.S. Army adhere to the October 1, 2019, deadline. 

In October 2018, during AUSA, defense exhibition in Washington D.C., American Company Raytheon Company and German Company Rheinmetall Defence has presented the Lynx KF41 to meet the U.S. Army's requirement for the NGCV (Next-Generation Combat Vehicle-Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle) program which is now redesignated as the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) and to add additional vehicle programs to what would be called the NGCV Program.

German Company Rheinmetall unveiled the KF41 Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle in June 2018 during the Defense Exhibition Eurosatory 2018 in Paris, France. The new tracked, armored vehicle is designed to address the critical challenges of the future battlefield, with a focus on growth capacity and lower life-cycle costs.

The Lynx IFV will provide the Army a next-generation lethal, powerful, lifesaving and adaptable fighting vehicle that represents a true leap ahead capability compared to legacy vehicles. The Lynx can also be adapted to enable optional manning features, such as remote operation of the vehicle and Lance turret.

The modular survivability systems of the Lynx provide unprecedented flexibility for customers to cope with the wide variety of threats faced across the spectrum of conflict. The ballistic and mine protection packages can be easily exchanged, even in the field if needed, while the full spectrum of threats have been taken into account, including roof protection against cluster munitions. The Lynx KF41 with Lance 2.0 has been designed not only for passive and reactive systems, but also for an active protection system to defeat rocket-propelled grenades and antitank guided missiles.

The KF41 Lynx can be fitted with a new generation of turret that can be armed with an automatic cannon up to 50 mm caliber featuring hunter-killer, killer-killer, remotely controlled weapon station, dual multi-mission pods, fully integrated situational awareness sensor suite.

German Company Rheinmetall has also offered the Lynx to the Australian Defence Force for Phase 3 of the Land 400 program, as well to the Czech Republic to replace the old BVP-2, a Russian BMP-2 tracked armored IFV produced under license in the Czech Republic. In March 2019, Rheinmetall Defence has lodged a bid in response to the Australian Army’s Land 400 Phase 3 - Mounted Close Combat Capability Request For Tender (RFT) with its KF41 Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) fitted with the Lance turret.