Army Developing Next Generation Combat Vehicles

An M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle crew changes position on the range during gunnery training. The Army is developing a new Next Generation Combat Vehicle as part of a concerted modernization strategy. (Photo: U.S. Army photo by Winifred Brown)

While the Army's current combat fleet is composed of very capable vehicles, they have been in the inventory for decades and their ability to overmatch peer capabilities in close combat is starting to wane. As the Army prepares for future combat operations, it needs new platforms, with future growth margins, to maintain the ability to dominate the battlefield.

This is a challenge for the Next Generation Combat Vehicle Cross-Functional Team (NGCV CFT) to solve. The NGCV CFT was established as part of the Army's modernization strategy and consists of hand-selected military and civilian personnel who are charged with narrowing or closing Cross Domain Maneuver capability gaps. The current NGCV CFT portfolio encompasses the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV); Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF); Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV); future robotic combat vehicles (RCV); and the next generation main battle tank.

The AMPV and MPF are well on their way through the acquisitions process – the AMPV is in Limited User Tests, and the Joint Requirements Oversight Council has recently approved the MPF's Capabilities Development Document. The team's current focus in on the OMFV, which will replace the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, while also overseeing the maturation of robotic combat vehicle and main battle tank technologies.

In future close combat formations, units equipped with NGCV must maneuver effectively in unrestricted, restricted, and dense urban terrain. The NGCV-OMFV will be designed to maneuver soldiers in the future operating environment to a position of advantage to engage in close combat and deliver decisive lethality during the execution of combined arms maneuver. NGCV must exceed current capabilities while overmatching similar threat class systems. It must have the following capabilities:

  • Optionally manned: It must have the ability to conduct remotely controlled operations while the crew is off platform.
  • Capacity: It should eventually operate with no more than two crewmen and possess sufficient volume under armor to carry at least six soldiers.
  • Transportability: Two OMFVs should be transportable by one C-17 and be ready for combat within 15 minutes.
  • Dense urban terrain operations and mobility: Platforms should include the ability to super elevate weapons and simultaneously engage threats using main gun and an independent weapons system.
  • Protection: It must possess requisite protection to survive on the contemporary and future battlefield.
  • Growth: It will possess sufficient size, weight, architecture, power, and cooling for automotive and electrical purposes to meet all platform needs and allow for pre-planned product improvements.
  • Lethality: It should apply immediate, precise and decisively lethal extended range medium caliber, directed energy, and missile fires in day/night all-weather conditions, while moving and/or stationary against moving and/or stationary targets. The platform should allow for mounted, dismount, and unmanned system target handover.
  • Embedded Platform Training: It should have embedded training systems that have interoperability with the Synthetic Training Environment.
  • Sustainability: Industry should demonstrate innovations that achieve breakthroughs in power generation and management to achieve increased operational range and fuel efficiency; increased silent watch, part and component reliability, and significantly reduced sustainment burden.

The CFT will ensure the Army operating force is equipped with Next Generation Combat Vehicles that overmatch pacing threats with decisive lethality, survivability, tactical mobility, and reduced logistical burdens. These vehicles, when combined with trained and technology-enabled crews, are essential to the Army's future battlefield success.