The US Army is to issue a request for proposal (RFP) for the acquisition of a lightweight, armoured combat vehicle known as the mobile protected firepower (MPF).
The MPF is being procured as a replacement for the M551 Sheridan armoured reconnaissance / airborne assault vehicle, which was withdrawn from regular service in 1996.
A draft (RFP) was issued in September and feedback from potential MPF contractors was received this past week.
The final RFP is expected to be issued in mid-November this year.
US Army Ground Combat Systems programme executive officer major general David Bassett said: “We’re looking at awarding a contract in early FY19.
“We expect to be delivering prototypes off of that programme effort within 15 months of contract award, and getting it in the hands of an evaluation unit six months after that: rapid.”
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To be used by infantry brigade combat teams (IBCTs), the MPF vehicle will offer long-range direct-fire capability for forcible entry and breaching operations.
Requirements for the MPF are designed to enable freedom of movement and action for IBCTs, to expand lodgement and prevent counterattack, to defeat local fortifications, point defences and blocking positions, and maintain the momentum of attack.
The vehicle with substantial armour protection is expected to have a 105mm gun on top such as the original Abrams tank.
The MPF may eventually replace the Abrams tank and Bradley, the US Army stated.
Weighing between 25t and 35t, the MPF is expected to be much lighter than a tank.