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After the first tender for the highly prioritized, only optionally manned combat vehicle - Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) - to replace the outdated Bradley armored personnel carrier, only one accepted offer was received at the end of 2019, but was technically insufficient. Therefore, the process was stopped in January 2020.

After intensive discussions with the industry, the US Army published a new schedule for the implementation of the OMFV on April 9, 2020, which provides for the start of series production in 2027 and the first operational capabilities from 2028.

The starting point of the implementation plan presented is the re-prioritization of the characteristic features of the vehicle. For the first time, the survivability of the crew and the system comes first and has replaced demands for mobility, effectiveness, weight and (air) transportability.

The new prioritization of the characteristics of the OMFV are:

  1. Survivability,
  2. Mobility,
  3. Growth potential,
  4. Effectiveness,
  5. Weight,
  6. Logistics,
  7. Transportability,
  8. Crew and
  9. Education.

The entire development and procurement process relies heavily on dialogue with industry. The initiated discussion, which primarily aims at a market overview with available technologies, is expected to lead to an invitation to submit offers in April 2021. We are looking for digital designs of combat vehicles, five of which are selected for virtual testing, especially in simulations. The simulations are intended to show the operational added value that the new vehicles can develop both in the environment of the New Generation Combat Vehicles (NGCV) and in cooperation with the existing equipment.

As a result of the investigation of the virtual vehicles, a maximum of three providers are to be asked in April 2023 to refine their designs, taking into account the simulation results, and to build functional prototypes by July 2025.

Photo by U.S. Army

The US Army has scheduled a period of more than a year for the extensive testing of the demonstrators and plans to select a manufacturer for production in January 2027. With a contract for manufacturers ready for series production and the start of series production with a low production rate (Low-Rate Initial Production, LRIP), series production is to be started in the same year. The first combat battalion with OMFV is expected to be operational by the end of 2028. The contract for series production with a full production rate worth around 41 billion euros could be concluded at the end of 2029. The number of Bradley armored personnel carriers to be replaced is around 4,700.

The new approach of the US Army brings a time delay of at least two years compared to the initial claim. Actually, the activation of the Army Futures Command, which was founded especially for such purposes, should speed up the procurement process.

As explained above, the US Army expects more than five companies to participate in the first phase of the competition. In the first approach in 2019, BAE Systems initially registered interest with the CV 90 Mk IV but made no offer. The offer of the Raytheon / Rheinmetall consortium with the KJ41 Lynx was not accepted for formal reasons. General Dynamics' offer of the Griffin was rejected due to technical issues.

Gerhard Heiming