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US Army announces 5 contract awards for OMFV Concept Design Phase to replace Bradley IFV.

| 2021

The U.S. Army announced on 23 July the award of five firm-fixed-price contracts for the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) Phase II Concept Design Phase using full and open competitive procedures. The contracts were awarded to Point Blank Enterprises, Inc. (Miami Lakes, Florida); Oshkosh Defense, LLC (Oshkosh, Wisconsin); BAE Systems Land and Armaments L.P. (Sterling Heights, Michigan); General Dynamics Land Systems, Inc. (Sterling Heights, Michigan); and American Rheinmetall Vehicles, LLC (Sterling Heights, Michigan). The total award value for all five contracts is approximately $299.4 million.
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M2A2 Bradley in eastern Syria, Nov. 11, 2019 (Picture source: U.S. Army)

During this phase of the program, the industry will develop digital designs while requirements mature; prototypes will be required in the following phase. "The Concept Design Phase reflects the Army’s effort to structure a program which incentivizes industry innovation and provides the analytical underpinnings for the development of an abbreviated capability development document," said Brig. Gen. Glenn Dean, program executive officer for Ground Combat Systems.

The initial digital design will inform the first formal OMFV requirements document, known as the A-CDD, which will be published in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2022, Ashley John reports on U.S. Army’s website. "This process allows the Army to make future decisions on the design without overly constricting vendor efforts to innovate," said Brig. Gen. Glenn Dean.

The overarching five-phase strategy for the OMFV program remains unchanged – the Army is focused on encouraging innovation, maximizing competition throughout the entire program, and producing a transformational infantry fighting vehicle that will dominate maneuver in multi-domain operations.

"The OMFV will bring a transformative change to the battlefield, providing new technology and new capabilities to our formations," said Maj. Gen. Ross Coffman, director of the Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross Functional Team. "Once these designs are completed, our Soldiers will engage with the designs and will provide feedback and input to ensure we are providing the equipment they need to defend our great nation."

Following the Concept Design Phase, the Army intends to have another full and open competition for the Detailed Design Phase (Phase III), with the intent to award up to three contracts in the second quarter of the fiscal year 2023.

The Detailed Design Phase awardees will transition into Phase IV of the program to build and test actual prototypes. The Army intends to downselect to one vendor at Milestone C (for Low Rate Initial Production) near the end of the fiscal year 2027.

The Army’s OMFV is an optionally manned platform that maneuvers Soldiers to a point of positional advantage to engage in close combat and deliver decisive lethality during the execution of combined arms maneuvers. It is designed to operate with or without a crew and Soldiers under armor based on the commander's decision, while also controlling maneuver robotics and semi-autonomous systems.

The Army’s Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) Program: Background and Issues for the Congress

In June 2018, in part due to congressional concerns, the Army announced a new modernization strategy and designated the Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) as the program to replace the M2 Bradley. In October 2018, Army leadership decided to redesignate the NGCV as the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) and to add additional vehicle programs to what would be called the NGCV Program.

The M2 Bradley, which has been in service since 1981, is an Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) used to transport infantry on the battlefield and provide fire support to dismounted troops and suppress or destroy enemy fighting vehicles. Updated numerous times since its introduction, the M2 Bradley is widely considered to have reached the technological limits of its capacity to accommodate new electronics, armor, and defense systems. Two past efforts to replace the M2 Bradley — the
Future Combat System (FCS) Program and the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) Program — were canceled for programmatic and cost-associated reasons.

In late 2018, the Army established Army Futures Command (AFC), intended to establish unity of command and effort while consolidating the Army’s modernization process under one roof. AFC is intended to play a significant role in OMFV development and acquisition.

On March 29, 2019, the Army issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to the industry for the OMFV. The Army characterized its requirements as “aggressive” and noted industry might not be able to meet all requirements.

On January 16, 2020, the Army canceled the current OMFV program, intending to restart the program following analysis and revision of program requirements. According to Army officials, “a combination of requirements and schedule overwhelmed industry’s ability to respond within the Army’s timeline.”

On February 7, 2020, the Army reopened the OMFV competition by releasing a new market survey with a minimally prescriptive wish list and an acquisition strategy that shifted most of the initial cost burden to the Army.

On April 9, 2020, the Army provided new OMFV program guidance to industry featuring a five-phased approach to acquisition as well as a pledge to “reduce foreign barriers to competition,” and “identify a pathway to integrate relevant but immature technologies” into the program. Reportedly, the three companies that participated in the first iteration of the OMFVcompetition—BAE Systems, General Dynamics Land Systems, and American Rheinmetall—have announced they plan to bid for the new OMFV program. In addition, Oshkosh Defense and Hanwha Defense, a Korean defense company, plan to team up on a bid, and Mettle Ops, a small defense firm with no experience building vehicles, also plans to submit a bid. Phase Two of the new competition, the Preliminary Design Phase, is planned to begin June 25, 2021, and run for 15 months.

The Army’s FY2022 OMFV Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) budget request is $225.106 million.


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