Army pushing to fund new mobility vehicle research in FY 2017

The programs would fund a Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV) and a Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) vehicle or platform to provide infantry units with enhanced protection and firepower.

M8 Ridgeway Armored Gun System, Aberdeen Proving Ground, a precursor to the U.S. Army's proposed MPF platform. (U.S. government image via Wikipedia)
WASHINGTON, Aug. 12, 2016 — According to military news sources such as Jane’s, the U.S. Army has been pushing hard this year to gain congressional support for a pair of ground-up programs commencing in FY 2017 “to address infantry brigade combat teams’ (IBCTs’) lack of tactical mobility.”

The programs would fund a pair of vehicles—a ground mobility vehicle (GMV) and a mobile protected firepower (MPF) vehicle or platform “that can quickly deploy with relatively low logistics demand but enough protection and firepower to ensure infantry’s freedom of action.” The programs are geared to shoring up and enhancing the tactical mobility and lethality of Army infantry squads while also serving to significantly each squad’s freedom of movement in the battlespace.”

The Army’s proposed MPF vehicle is in many ways similar to the M8 Armored Gun System that was canceled in the mid-1990s due to Clinton administration budget cuts that occurred regularly in that decade, reflecting that administration’s desire for a post-Cold War “peace dividend” after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Iron Curtain.

The Army hopes to succeed in its efforts this time around by incorporating less expensive “off-the-shelf” hardware in the vehicle’s design.

According to Jane’s, proposed new funding will “support trade studies; technical, operational, and affordability analysis; the potential start of an analysis of alternatives (AoA) study; designs for new development concepts or modification to existing platforms; and potential prototyping to assess designs if funding permits.”

An article this week in Breaking Defense provides new details on the Army’s budget request.

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