General Dynamics moves to low-rate initial production for light tank and vetronics to support Army infantry

May 23, 2023
Light and maneuverable MPF has a four-person crew, and will target and destroy fortifications, bunkers, buildings, and light-to-medium armored vehicles.

WARREN, Mich. – Armored combat vehicles designers at General Dynamics Corp. are moving to low-rate initial production (LRIP) on a new U.S. Army light tank to support infantry brigade combat teams under terms of a $10.3 million order announced on Friday.

Officials of the Army Contracting Command Detroit Arsenal in Warren, Mich., are asking General Dynamics Land Systems in Sterling Heights, Mich., for low-rate initial production of the Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) system -- a scaled-down version of the venerable Army M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 main battle tank.

Low rate initial production describes small-quantity production of a new weapon system before full-rate large orders begin. The MPF armored combat vehicle is designed primarily to support infantry brigade combat teams on the battlefield.

The MPF has a 105-millimeter cannon, a 7.62 millimeter coaxial machine gun, externally mounted .50 caliber machine gun, and a 12.7 millimeter heavy machine gun. It also has an enhanced thermal viewer from Safran Optics 1 in Bedford, N.H.

Related: Army chooses five companies to design future armored combat vehicles with vetronics and machine autonomy

The light tank has a lightweight hull and turret, and a modern diesel engine, transmission, and suspension system. It is smaller and lighter than the Abrams main battle tank, and is easier to transport by aircraft.

The MPF has a four-person crew, and will target and destroy fortifications, bunkers, buildings, and light-to-medium armored vehicles. The lighter weight of the combat vehicle makes it more transportable and maneuverable.

The vehicle has a range of 190 miles and can operate for 24 hours off the ramp or on arrival at drop zone. It can move over steep hills, valleys, cities, and ford rivers.

Army leaders say they plan to create an MPF battalion at the division level, from which MPF companies will be allocated to infantry brigade combat teams; each infantry brigade combat team will have 14 MPFs.

Related: Army asks General Dynamics to build Stryker armored combat vehicles with industry-standard VICTORY vetronics

The light tank's vetronics will include the Safran PASEO commander’s independent tactical viewer to provide long-range panoramic targeting and enhanced situational awareness.

General Dynamics won a won a $1.14 billion contract last June to build as many as 96 MPF combat vehicles. Ultimately the Army is expected to buy more than 504 MPF combat vehicles through 2035.

On this order General Dynamics will do the work in Sterling Heights, Mich.; Anniston, Ala.; and Lima, Ohio, and should be finished by October 2024. For more information contact General Dynamics Land Systems online at, or the Army Contracting Command Detroit Arsenal at

About the Author

John Keller | Editor-in-Chief

John Keller is the Editor-in-Chief, Military & Aerospace Electronics Magazine--provides extensive coverage and analysis of enabling electronics and optoelectronic technologies in military, space and commercial aviation applications. John has been a member of the Military & Aerospace Electronics staff since 1989 and chief editor since 1995.

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