General Dynamics and American Rheinmetall will compete for a lucrative contract to design the new armored vehicle
The Pentagon has chosen General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS)and American Rheinmetall Vehicles as two finalists in the bid to field a replacement for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.
The US Army announced the decision on Monday, saying the two weapons giants will vie to create the new XM30 Mechanized Infantry Combat Vehicle, which it hopes to complete sometime before 2030.
Contracts for the early development stage are worth a total of $1.6 billion between the two companies, while the Pentagon is expected to devote some $45 billion to the project by the time it is finished, according to Defense News. A winner will be given a full production contract in 2027, when the military will decide how many units to order, and the first vehicles are intended to be operational by 2029. Before then, the awardees could be expected to produce up to 11 different prototypes.
Originally dubbed the ‘Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle,’ the XM30 will be a tracked vehicle with anti-tank capabilities much like the Bradley, but is expected to feature a hybrid electric engine and have some autonomous systems, the Army has said.
While a similar competition to replace the Bradley was held in 2019, the Pentagon was forced to scrap its plans after receiving only one bid. It later launched another effort, with five weapons firms submitting bids before Monday’s selection, including the manufacturer of the Bradley, Britain’s BAE Systems.
The military hoped to choose three companies for the detailed design and prototyping phase of development, but Doug Bush, the Army’s assistant secretary for acquisition, logistics and technology, explained that officials wanted to ensure they had enough resources to keep the program afloat.
“We now have information we didn’t have before, including the bids themselves, which informed us about the overall resources required by the program,” he told reporters on Monday.
The equipment made by GDLS includes the M1 Abrams main battle tank and the Stryker wheeled armored vehicle. Rheinmetall, which is based in Germany, designed the Leopard tank, which has also been donated to Ukraine by several NATO members.
The Bradley Fighting Vehicle has made headlines in recent months after the White House agreed to supply the weapon to Ukrainian troops, part of more than $40 billion in direct military aid to Kiev since the conflict with Russia erupted last year.
According to the New York Times, at least 17 of the 113 Bradleys provided have already been damaged or destroyed by Russian forces, or about 15% of the total.
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