The US Army Contracting Command has awarded development contracts to BAE Systems Land & Armaments and General Dynamics (GD) Land Systems for the Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF).

The MPF programme is designed to provide a mobile, protected, direct, offensive fire capability across the spectrum of terrains and operations for the army’s Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT).

In addition, the MPF combat vehicle is expected to enable IBCT to destroy enemy prepared positions and bunkers and defeat heavy machine guns and armoured vehicle threats.

BAE’s engineering, manufacturing, and development (EMD) phase contract is worth up to $376m and GD received a $335m award for the MPF programme.

The contracts follow after the Office of the Secretary of Defense and Army leadership approved Section 804 Middle Tier Acquisition (MTA) Rapid Prototyping for the MPF pre-milestone C activities.

The approval will involve fielding and demonstration of a prototype in an operational environment within five years.

Under the contracts, each company will deliver 12 pre-production vehicles that will be put through developmental and operational testing and a soldier vehicle assessment (SVA).

“The US Army will perform a source selection evaluation towards the end of the MTA rapid prototyping phase.”

BAE will provide a rapidly deployable light solution that will feature a compact design, integrated scalable armour, innovative survivability subsystems and situational awareness systems.

GD will develop a medium-weight, large-calibre prototype vehicle for the MPF programme, which will be similar to its Griffin II prototype vehicle.

US Army Futures Command commanding general John M Murray said: “Today’s announcement sets in motion a critical modernisation effort for the army, and really shows how Futures Command and the Army Acquisition Community will work hand in hand to provide our soldiers with the capabilities they need and deserve.

“By accepting some short-term risk in schedule, our Infantry Brigade Combat Teams will soon receive a mobile, protected, long-range, precision direct fire capability that will assist in sustaining combat overmatch against near-peer competitors in a significantly reduced period of time.”

The US Army will perform a source selection evaluation towards the end of the MTA rapid prototyping phase, which will then involve a selected platform being moved into low rate initial production (LRIP).

A total of 504 vehicles are targeted for acquisition by the army and each IBCT will be equipped with 14 MPFs.

The MPF platform is expected to be fielded with the first IBCT in 2025.