Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Washington, DC, United States (4E) – When is a lightweight tank not a lightweight tank? When it is a beast referred to by the U.S. Army as one thing referred to as “Mobile Protected Firepower” or MPF.
It’s the Army’s model of the quirky identify the U.S. Air Force gave its sixth era stealth/hypersonic fighter presently being developed: “Penetrating Counter Air” or PCA.
The Army needs MPF to offer Infantry Brigade Combat Teams (IBCTs) with an armored preventing car (AFV) with long-range, cyber-resilient, exact and direct-fire functionality for early or forcible entry operations.
Maj. Gen. David Bassett, program govt officer for Ground Combat Systems, mentioned MPF might be tracked and can weigh from 25 to 35 metric tons. MPF could have substantial armour safety however not as a lot as a principal battle tank. MPF might be armed with a 105 mm gun.
The Army plans to suit two MPFs on a C-17 Globemaster III transport plane, and that transport requirement has been one of many key design restrictions. On the opposite hand, Gen. Bassett mentioned MPF is not anticipated to have a C-17 airdrop functionality as a result of that requirement means the car will need to have gentle armor.
He mentioned that by mid-2018, the Army hopes to be testing bid samples, and will award preliminary engineering and manufacturing improvement contract in early fiscal 12 months 2019 as quickly as cash is appropriated.
The Army expects to obtain business’s prototypes inside 14 months of the anticipated FY 2019 contract award, and have them beneath analysis no less than 4 months after that.
“I don’t want to say it’s a light tank, but it’s kind of like a light tank,” mentioned David Dopp, program supervisor for MPF.
The Army is dashing up the event of MPF by foregoing the prolonged and dear expertise improvement section in favor of business off-the-shelf choices, which means MPF might be a modified model of an present AFV.
It issued a number of draft RFPs to business this 12 months to clarify what it is in search of, from base necessities to goal options. It’s additionally made it clear it can skip the event section in favor of commercially accessible car choices.
Defense companies which are anticipated to answer the RFP are SAIC partnering with ST Kinetics and CMI Defence (all are Singaporean companies); BAE Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems.
The SAIC workforce mentioned it can combine CMI’s Cockerill 3105 turret onto an ST Kinetics next-generation armored preventing car chassis as its MPF candidate.
BAE Systems is providing an M8 Buford Armored Gun System with new capabilities and new modernized elements.
The Army mentioned it plans to equip the primary mechanized unit with the MPF in 2025.
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