Army extends Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) technology development phase by six months

WARREN, Mich., 24 April 2013. U.S. Army combat vehicle designers are extending by six months the technology development phase of a program to build a modern, networked armored fighting vehicle to replace and augment versions of the M113 armored personnel carrier, M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and the Stryker armored vehicle.

The Army on Tuesday awarded contracts to General Dynamics Land Systems and BAE Systems Land and Armaments LP, both based in Sterling Heights, Mich., to extend the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) technology development phase. The original technology development contracts were awarded to these companies in August 2011.

The GCV will use vehicle electronics (vetronics) that meets a new and evolving open-systems standard called Vehicle Integration for C4ISR/EW Interoperability (VICTORY).

On Tuesday General Dynamics won a $180.4 million contract, and BAE Systems won a $159.5 million contract to extend GCV technology development, which calls for the companies to build early prototype Ground Combat Vehicles.

Planning had called for the first GCV prototypes to be completed in 2014 or 2015, but this latest program extension may delay those dates. The GCV was to be deployed by 2019, but that schedule now may be stretched.

Ultimately one of the two competing GCV teams will be selected to build as many as 1,874 Ground Combat Vehicles. Awarding Tuesday's contracts were officials of the Army Contracting Command in Warren, Mich., on behalf of the Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command.

For fiscal 2014 the Army is requesting $592.2 million for GCV research and development, which is a slight reduction from the $639.9 million for GCV research the Pentagon requested for this year. The GCV infantry fighting vehicle will provide an infantry squad with networking, mobility, force protection, and firepower.

On the General Dynamics GCV team are Lockheed Martin Corp., Raytheon Co., and Tognum America Inc. On the BAE Systems team are Northrop Grumman Corp., QinetiQ North America, Saft Group, and iRobot Corp.

On the General Dynamics team, Lockheed Martin will build the turret, lethal and non-lethal effects, and embedded training; Raytheon will build the GCV's rocket-propelled-grenade-protection system, as well as indirect-vision and sensor integration; Tognum America will build the GCV's engine, transmission, and generator.

General Dynamics C4 Systems leads the network and communications integrated product team and has responsibility for network integration, communications, computing, and information assurance.

On the BAE Systems team Northrop Grumman will design and integrate hardware and software for the GCV's command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR).

Northrop Grumman has hired Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions in Ashburn, Va., to design open-architecture embedded computer and network switch subsystems. The Curtiss-Wright mission computer going onto the BAE Systems-Northrop Grumman entry in the GCV competition uses four commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) single board computers in a rugged chassis.

QinetiQ will provide the BAE Systems GCV's hybrid electric drive transmission, while MTU will build the combat vehicle's diesel engine. Saft will provide the GCV energy storage system using lithium-ion batteries. L3 Communications will provide the GCV with hydropneumatic suspension units.

Also on the BAE Systems GCV team is iRobot, which will serve as the unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) integrator, and will enable the GCV to operate the Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV).

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