In October 1999 the Army leadership announced a vision of the future. US forces must be lighter, more lethal and less dependent on logistic tails to rapidly deploy from multiple dispersed locations worldwide. Agile, highly capable forces that can react quickly to emerging crises may be able to prevent crises from escalating into war. US forces must be sufficiently versatile to sustain a high operating tempo and defeat an opponent with minimum losses. They must then quickly reposition, refocus, and execute subsequent missions against an adversary employing asymmetric means, including chemical/ biological warfare and information operations. An immediate upgrade of current forces is required in order to provide an interim capability to meet this requirement. The Fiscal Year 2001 Army budget request included decisions to restructure or "divest" a number of programs in order to provide some of the resources to support its transformation to achieve the ambitious deployment goals outlined in the October 1999 Army Vision. The restructured programs are the Crusader and the Future Scout and Cavalry System. The "divestitures" include Heliborne Prophet (Air), MLRS Smart Tactical Rocket (MSTAR), Stinger Block II, Command and Control Vehicle (C2V), Grizzly, Wolverine, and the Army Tactical Missile System Block IIA. Funding for these programs was reallocated to fund the Army Vision transformation strategy. The Army Vision includes a Brigade structure and organization which is crucial to the Army’s strategic responsiveness goals of deploying, from the CONUS base to global theater of operation, one (1) Brigade within 96 hours, one (1) Division within 120 hours and five (5) Divisions within thirty (30) days. The air transportable Interim Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) is intended to be capable of deployment to anywhere on the globe in a combat ready configuration. The range of tasks to be accomplished by the IBCT requires a family of vehicles that are air transportable, capable of immediate employment upon arrival in the area of operations, and have the greatest degree of commonality possible. Force effectiveness is achieved by an organization built around mounted and dismounted infantry enabled by a family of internetted platforms and situational understanding. Maintaining and sustaining war-fighting capability is paramount for the Family of Vehicles and throughout the Brigade structure. To meet this interim requirement the Army provided funding in the FY01 budget to field an Medium/Interim Armored Vehicle as a common baseline capability for a mounted Brigade Combat Team (BCT) which will function as a full-spectrum combat force. Several families of medium based platforms exist or are under development throughout the world that, with slight modification, could meet the initial MAV/IAV requirement. One or more of these family options, with appropriate technical insertions, is expected to meet the interim requirement.
The MAV must be transportable in a C-130 aircraft. This mobility capability is critical to enable strategic maneuver of the IBCT through enabled operational and tactical intra-theater C-130 transport. To be C-130 transportable, MAV must enter and exit the aircraft capable of immediate combat operations (does not require a full basic load) and not exceed 13,000 pounds maximum axle weight on the treadways of C-130 aircraft, and its combat capable deployment weight must not exceed 38,000 pounds GVW (19 stons) to allow C-130 transport of 1,000 nautical miles without requiring a USAF waiver for maximum aircraft weight on fixed runway. C-130 with MAV must be capable of assault strip landing with a waiver for maximum aircraft weight.
One of the core capabilities of the MAV equipped IBCT is the ability to move rapidly about the battlefield. A sustained speed of 40 MPH gives the IBCT the ability to conduct road marches at 30-35 MPH, and gives individual platforms the ability to have catch up speed to maintain momentum. MAV must be capable of rapid deployment/displacement to critical areas immediately upon landing/insertion and have the ability to rapidly relocate to meet emerging threats and to shape the battlefield.
The requirement for MAV may be met by a wheel or track solution. Regardless, any variant or configuration must be able to keep pace with the rest of the force. MAV must provide a cruising range of a minimum of 300 miles without refueling. The cruising range for both the Bradley and Abrams is 300 miles. MAV must be capable of sustained hard surface speeds of 40 MPH. One of the core capabilities of the MAV equipped IBCT is the ability to move rapidly about the battlefield. A sustained speed of 40 MPH gives the IBCT the ability to conduct road marches at 30-35 MPH, and gives individual platforms the ability to have catch up speed to maintain momentum.
If a wheeled variant, MAV must be equipped with central tire inflation and run-flat tires. If a tracked variant, MAV must have the capacity to run short track with a minimum of one road wheel arm incapacitated on either side. Mine damage in complex terrain where rubble and hard rock surfaces are prevalent and are likely to cause broken track and flat tires. Short track capability allows the ability to rapidly repair the broken track and continue the mission. Run-flat tire capability allows systems to continue missions (limp home or get-away capability) for short durations after combat or terrain induced tire failures thus improving survivability for the system and the crew. Limp home capability reduces maintenance recovery workload. Central Tire Inflation (CTI) provides the capability to vary tire pressures and vehicle mobility to match terrain, road, and weather conditions -- lower pressures for off road in soft soils, sand, mud and snow and higher pressures for use on-road where higher speeds are required. CTI improves vehicle ride quality over rough terrain, reducing driver fatigue and reducing terrain induced reliability failures.
The Medium Armored Vehicle (MAV) family of vehicles is centered on the Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV). The range of specific platform requirements will be met to the extent possible by applying Non Developmental Items (NDI) to the ICV. When specific platform requirements cannot be met to an acceptable level by applying NDI to the ICV, a variant may be used. Commonality with the ICV has priority over individual system performance. The two most likely platform variants are the Mobile Gun System (MGS) and the 155mm Self Propelled Howitzer.
- MAV Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV), when configured as an infantry carrier of Engineer Squad Vehicle, must carry an Infantry squad with individual equipment.
- The Mobile Gun System (MGS) must provide direct, supporting fires to assault infantry in order to destroy hardened enemy bunkers, machine gun, and sniper positions. To accomplish this the MGS primary armament must defeat a standard infantry bunker and create an opening in a double reinforced concrete wall, through which infantry can pass. The main armament system capable of providing a firing rate of 7-12 rounds per minute for at least 2 minutes. It will possess a shoot-on-the move capability, with laser rangefinder, to defeat MBTs (up to T-72M) out to 2000M (Threshold), 4000M (Objective).
- The SP Howitzer will integrate athe Light Weight 155mm (M777)cannon system with capabilities equal to or greater than the Lightweight 155 (M777) on a common chassis within the IBCT and be capable of firing all currently fielded and developmental US and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Standard 155mm munitions and propellants. In addition the system must be able to achieve a range of 30 kilometers (assisted) and be able toachieve a maximum rate of fire of not fewer than five rounds per minute for three minutes in low angle (less than 800 mils elevation) indirect fire.
The MAV equipped force is composed of mission specific variants/configurations (V/C), each of which provide the vehicle operator/crewman with a series of functional capabilities, some of which have previously not been available. To maximize commonality, the number of configurations will be minimized, and the various functions to be performed will be tailored to that small number of configurations.
VARIANTS SYSTEMS PER VARIANT Self-Propelled Howitzer 15-21 Mobile Gun System (MGS) 30-42 Infantry/General Purpose Carrier (ICV) 130-180 Reconnaissance Vehicle 54-73 Antitank Guided Missile Vehicle (ATGM) 10-14 Command and Control/TOC Vehicle 40-56 Mortar Carrier 30-42 Engineer Vehicle (EV) 17-23 Striker/Fire Support Team Vehicle 11-15 NBC Reconnaissance Vehicle 3-5 Medical Evacuation/ Medical Treatment Vehicle 35-48 Recovery Vehicle 5-8 TOTAL SYSTEMS PER BRIGADE 380-527
Projected Army initial requirement is 1740 systems. This will equip 5 brigade-size units of 348 systems each. Additional platforms will be required for the training base, institutional training, maintenance floats, and spares. Actual numbers and locations of these vehicles will be specified prior to IOC. IOC is the fielding of the first brigade set and is projected for 1QFY02. Eventually, however, the U.S. may need an additional 10 brigades or as many as 5,000 more vehicles.
The Medium Armored Vehicle acquisition program is intended to equip the new interim brigades at Ft. Lewis, Washington. Initially, one brigade will be equipped with systems that will be "borrowed or leased" from within the U.S Government or other inter-governmental arrangements. This first Initial Brigade is scheduled to be established and deployable by 1 October 2000. An initial platform demonstration was held in late 1999 and early 2000 at Ft. Knox, Kentucky. The Army’s goal is to field the first brigade set of MAV, more than 380 vehicles, by March 2001.
Competitors for the contract include three U.S. companies -- United Defence Land Programs, General Dynamics Land Systems and Textron -- as well as firms in Austria, Canada and France.
- General Dynamics [GD] teamed with General Motors [GM] -- 8x8 wheeled LAV III family, made by General Motors of Canada
- United Defense, L.P. -- tracked M8 Armored Gun System and M113 variants.
- Textron -- 6x6 wheeled LAV-300 Mk II and 4x4 XM1117 Armored Security Vehicle
- AM General -- 4x4 XM1114 up-armored HUMVEE and 4x4 Cobra [with Turkey’s Otokar]
- Steyr-Daimler-Puch [Austria] - 6x6 Pandur [in cooperation with GD]
- GIAT Industries [France] -- 6x6 VAB
- Henschell [Germany] -- 6x6 TPz-1 Fuchs
- FMC-Nurol [Turkey] -- M113 variants
Many observers regard the leading contender as the Light Armored Vehicle, currently in service with the United States Marine Corps. In 1997 General Dynamics Land Systems and General Motors' Diesel Division [DDGM] signed a Memorandum of Understanding to pursue the Canadian Armored Combat Vehicle Program (ACV). General Motors' Diesel Division in London, Ontario would be the prime contractor and provide the Light Armored Vehicle chassis. Land Systems would provide the 105mm, two-man automated turret developed at its Muskegon Technical Center in Muskegon, Michigan. DDGM currently makes one light armoured vehicle a day. The company's Oxford facilities in London, Ontario Canada is not running at full capacity and could increase production on its third shift. To increase production, the company will need to look at contracting out some of the work. General Dynamics Land Systems, a division of General Dynamics Corporation, is a world leader in the development, production, and support of armored vehicles and electronic systems. Its 3,300 employees operate plants and facilities in seven states and at three international locations.In early March 2000 the Army decided to shift the program's procurement strategy, allowing the possibility of award multiple contracts for a mixed fleet of wheeled and tracked vehicles, rather than awarding a single "winner take all" contract for multiple versions of a single wheeled vehicle.