US Army re-envisions land warfare with Next Generation Combat Vehicles
Readying the U.S. military for future warfare requires envisioning how next-generation warfighters will maneuver across all domains, including the fundamental land domain. The Army is accomplishing this task by bringing together ground vehicle experts, industry innovators and hands-on engineers and researchers to develop, test and ultimately deliver new fighting vehicles. Steering the U.S. Army’s efforts to advance prototypes in this area is the Army Futures Command Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross-Functional Team, or NGCV CFT, based in Warren, Michigan. Maureena Thompson, Army Futures Command, explains.
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A Robotic Combat Vehicle – Light, part of the Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross-Functional Team portfolio, prior to testing at Camp Grayling, Michigan, in October 2021. (Picture source: U.S. Army)
The NGCV CFT (Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross-Functional Team), in partnership with the Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center, the Program Executive Office – Ground Combat Systems and industry partners, is working to provide more capable replacements for decades-old combat vehicles and introduce new warfighting capabilities that will produce a speed, range and reliability of combat vehicles once thought unachievable.
The CFT is also exploring how the Army can strengthen its protection of Soldiers traveling in infantry fighting vehicles and other combat platforms while also ensuring the vehicles are as nimble, durable and adaptable to unexpected settings as possible.
"Wars are won on the ground. Getting American women and men into positions of relative advantage enables our collective success. The ground manned and unmanned vehicle that Team Detroit delivers will allow the U.S. Army and its partners and allies to maintain dominance over all adversaries far into the future. We cannot expect our foes to capitulate. We must convince them to surrender through materiel, training and leadership,” said NGCV CFT Director Maj. Gen. Ross Coffman.
One of the CFT’s top priorities is the establishment of an Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, or OMFV, which it is developing through open-source contracts and in-depth conversations with defense industry innovators.
OMFVs, which are presently in a digitally engineered blueprint phase but are set to progress into a prototyping phase in 2023, will not simply serve as a replacement for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, but instead will bring transformative flexibility and lethality capabilities to future battlefield commanders.
The CFT is also continuing its work on the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, a modern personnel carrier that is undergoing Initial Operational Test and Evaluation, and the Mobile Protected Firepower, a new light tank model that recently completed limited user testing, among other activities.
Along the way, the NGCV CFT is conducting regular soldier touchpoints and feedback sessions to ensure new vehicle designs meet functional user needs.
As it develops a portfolio of NGCV systems, the CFT is utilizing a Modular Open Systems Approach, standardizing hardware, software and data interfaces to allow for persistent modernization and smoother, more cost-effective integration of new capabilities moving forward. Ultimately, “our CFT aims to synchronize efforts between all organizations within the Army Modernization Enterprise to facilitate the rapid acquisition of increased capabilities,” said Maj. J. Michael Eisenlohr, Deputy Chief of Staff for the NGCV CFT. “We are a team of military professionals working with Soldier-centered design leads to develop operationally relevant systems for the future force,” Eisenlohr said.