The US Department of Defense (DoD) has announced it has modified a long-running contract with BAE Systems to produce M2A4 and M7A4 Bradley armoured fighting vehicles.
BAE’s contract to produce Bradley vehicles for the US Army goes as far back as 2018. The DoD tasked the supplier with producing 473 of the same variants at a value of $347.9m. Since then, the DoD has renewed the same contract several times, once in 2019, again in 2022 in a contract worth $31.9m and now in a contract worth $113m.
As usual, BAE will produce the systems in York, Pennsylvania, with an estimated completion date of 31 January 2025. The US Navy will obligate funds from FY22 and 23 for the procurement of weapons and tracked combat vehicles at the time of the award.
Bradley armoured fighting vehicles
BAE Systems is the original equipment manufacturer of the Bradley fighting vehicle. The family performs various roles from transport infantry on the battlefield, to provide fire cover to dismounted troops, and to suppress enemy tanks and fighting vehicles.
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The vehicle is in service with the armies of the US, Saudi Arabia and Croatia among others. Since 1981, countries fielded 6,720 Bradley vehicles.
At the beginning of August Elbit America, a subsidiary of Elbit Systems, secured a contract to design and manufacture the gunner hand stations for the Bradley through the Defense Logistics Agency, a move poised to bolster the lethality and survivability of US Army operations.
The US government also donated the vehicles to Ukraine in a military assistance package in January this year. The DoD Press Secretary Brigadier General Pat Ryder said that the tranche will include Bradley vehicles along with other military equipment.
The new Bradley vehicles will help with the transportation of Ukrainian troops in combat zones and provide offensive and defensive capabilities. The vehicles are also expected to enhance the ‘firepower and armour’ capabilities of the Ukrainian military.
Given that GlobalData accounts that there are currently 1,563 Bradley units within the US Army force structure – 1,420 M2 Infantry Fighting Vehicles and 143 M7 armoured support vehicles – it makes sense that more systems would help Ukraine in its grueling task to repel invading Russian forces.
In this context, it is reasonable for the American government to call for a boost in the production of these reliable vehicles, especially amid the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ ‘slow but steady’ counteroffensive in the south and east of the country.