Israeli Namer AIFV

The US Army is planning to test Israeli and Swedish military vehicles and Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) in late 2012 at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, US, as part of its Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) programme.

The assessment will allow the army to look at various options that meet the requirements of the infantry vehicle programme.

GCV project manager colonel Andrew DiMarco was quoted by Defense News as saying that the army will specifically test the Israeli Namer heavy Armoured Infantry Fighting Vehicle (AIFV) and the Swedish Combat Vehicle 90 (CV90).

The General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) built Namer AIFV is currently undergoing user assessment tests in Israel, conducted by the US Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) team.

Other vehicles that will be tested at New Mexico include Bae Systems-built Swedish CV90, Bradley M2A3 fighting vehicle and GD Stryker double-V-hull vehicle.

DiMarco said the service also has plans to test the German Puma infantry fighting vehicle at White Sands Missile Range this year.

The $40bn GCV infantry fighting vehicle programme aims to deliver a vehicle that is capable of carrying an entire squad of nine soldiers along with their equipment and protecting them from improvised explosive devices and modern warfare threats.

More than 1,874 GCVs are expected to be fielded to replace a portion of the Army’s Bradley infantry fighting vehicle fleet.

The Army has already awarded contracts to GDLS and BAE Systems for the technology development (TD) phase of the programme, and has requested Pentagon for a funding of $640m in the 2013 defence budget proposal.

The third contender, the SAIC-led team comprising of Boeing, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall, was not awarded a contract for the TD phase, resulting in SAIC protesting against the army’s evaluation decision.

The protest, later denied by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), halted programme development for about three months, delaying the army’s plan to deliver the vehicle in seven years, or in 2018.

Image: Israeli Namer heavy armoured infantry fighting vehicle to be tested for US Army GCV programme at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.