While the death knell continued to sound last week for the Ground Combat Vehicle, the Army quietly released a notice to industry requesting information about a new, air-droppable Ultra Light Combat Vehicle that some speculate could be the future of the service's protected mobility strategy.
The notional ULCV would have an array of requirements aimed at increasing infantry combat mobility, including the ability to be dropped out of C-130 and C-17 aircraft, according to a Jan. 22 industry notice.
"This information will examine the benefit of an Ultra Light Combat Vehicle (ULCV) to support mobility for Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) soldiers," the Jan. 22 notice states. "The information received will be used by the Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCOE) to screen potential commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions, which may be demonstrated during a static display and proof of principal event."
The Army's combat vehicle modernization strategy was upended earlier this month when lawmakers ripped nearly $492 million from the Army's fiscal year 2014 GCV request of $592 million, leaving only $100 million to either close out the program or sustain a small study effort for several years until bigger budgets arrive. The GCV was intended to replace nearly 2,000 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, which the Army says are too small to fit a full squad and do not provide enough underbody protection against improvised explosive devices. (end of excerpt)
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(EDITOR’S NOTE: US Army vehicle procurement seems totally rudderless: after having pursued a 70-tonne+ Ground Combat Vehicle, which it will probably have to cut for lack of funds, it is now looking at an ultra-light vehicle. Doesn’t it have an operating concept to guide its procurement?)