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For the US version of the Lynx, one of the five remaining candidates for the US Army's new armored personnel carrier, the armaments company Rheinmetall is working on the integration of an unmanned machine gun turret to accommodate a 30 mm or optionally a 50 mm weapon system. This emerges from a conversation between Mike Milner, Head of Business Development at American Rheinmetall Vehicles, with the US trade magazine "Army Technology". According to Milner, if the Lynx is successful, it will be manufactured entirely in the USA and a technology transfer has already been initiated. A spokesman for the Rheinmetall group confirmed the statements when asked by Soldat & Technik.

In July the US Army selected five suppliers for the next phase of the competition for the successor to the Bradley armored personnel carrier. In addition to American Rheinmetall Vehicles, a US subsidiary of the German armaments company from Düsseldorf, Point Blank Enterprises, BAE Systems, General Dynamics Land Systems and the team from Oshkosh Defense and the South Korean manufacturer Hanwah are to be in phase 2 of the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) - Submit digital drafts of the new combat vehicle to the program.

As part of the OMFV program, the US Army intends to replace nearly 4,000 Bradley combat vehicles, the successor of which has already swallowed billions of dollars without a single combat vehicle being introduced. This is the third attempt by the US Army to find a successor for Bradley, who is around 40 years old.

According to a statement from the US Army, the total amount of the five contracts for the digital design studies amounts to around 300 million US dollars, the Rheinmetall share amounts to 54 million US dollars.

Tower concept OMFV-Lynx

According to Milner, the Lynx KF41 platform serves as the basis for the OMFV version of the armored personnel carrier, as the basic version already meets several basic requirements of the US Army. However, specific adjustments are necessary.

Rheinmetall designed the Lynx as an infantry fighting vehicle with a manned turret, as it was selected in Hungary, for example, and competed in Australia and the Czech Republic.

A crew of three people is necessary for this. However, the US armed forces require a crew of two, which requires an unmanned tower concept. Apparently the tower concept has already been developed and prototypes are available.

According to Rheinmetall, the Lynx team, consisting of American Rheinmetall Vehicles, Raytheon Technologies, L3Harris Technologies, Textron Systems and Allison Transmissions, is currently working on an integration. To this end, a development agreement (CRADA) was recently concluded with the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center (DEVCOM AC).

This CRADA enables DEVCOM AC and American Rheinmetall Vehicles to work together on a regular basis to develop integrated weapons, fire control and ammunition technologies for combat vehicles. "In addition to other research and development tasks, the CRADA offers the team the opportunity to research the integration of the US Army's 50mm XM913 cannon on platforms that are potential candidates for the OMFV program," it said in an end of August published press release from Rheinmetall.

According to Rheinmetall, the unmanned OMFV turret of the Lynx will be able to accommodate a 30 mm XM813 cannon or the 50 mm XM913 cannon from Bushmaster without any changes to the tower structure or architecture. The crew in the field can evidently also change the pipe, provided they have a device to lift the heavy weaponry.

In addition, the tower has integrated anti-tank guided missiles TOW of the latest version, which are currently also in use at Bradley, as well as a multi-purpose drone of the type Coyote XM913 from Raytheon. According to the manufacturer, the coyote drone launched from a pipe can be deployed individually or in swarms and is suitable for a variety of missions, including surveillance and electronic warfare. The system can also be used as a kinetic agent; it is designed to carry exchangeable payloads. Raytheon states an operating time of the system of up to one hour.

OMFV-Lynx – Neue Details zum Schützenpanzerangebot von Rheinmetall an die U.S. Army
OMFV-Lynx – Neue Details zum Schützenpanzerangebot von Rheinmetall an die U.S. Army

The integration of the anti-tank guided missile Javelin is also conceivable. The weapon system is currently being further developed so that it can also be used for anti-drone defense and reconnaissance in addition to fighting tanks.

Team Lynx

In order to improve its chances in competition, Rheinmetall has set up the “Team Lynx”, in which several companies from the USA are involved.

Raytheon contributes its expertise in the field of sensors and effectors. L3Harris is a specialist in vehicle mission systems and cyber security solutions and is responsible for the implementation of the open modular system approach (Modular Open System Architecture, MOSA) of the Lynx. Textron Systems serves as the primary production partner for the Lynx chassis and contributes its expertise in the field of robotics and unmanned systems. Allison Transmission is responsible for the development and production of a transmission and the drive-by-wire capability.

Phases of the OMFV program

Phase 1: Market Analysis (Completed in 2020)

Phase 2: In the digital design phase (2021 to the beginning of 2023), five competitors are to create digital designs for the required combat vehicle and create a Preliminary Design Review (PDR). Then there is the possibility of further developing the vehicle design in a post-design phase. Selection criteria are performance, technical maturity of the design, rights and costs for procurement and operation.

Phase 3: In the detailed design phase (2023 to 2024), 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 of phase 2, and to build functional prototypes by July 2025 .

Phase 4: The construction of three prototypes and their test is the subject of the so-called prototype and test phase (2025 to 2026), at the end of which a competitor is planned for the series production of the OMFV.

Phase 5: The pre-series production (from 2027) serves to produce a pre-series by OMFV, whose vehicles are intended for extensive testing by government agencies.

Waldemar Geiger