Army’s AMPV Wish List Changes Just a Bit

The Army released the long-awaited draft version of its Request for Proposals for the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) program on the evening of March 21st, announcing plans to award an engineering, manufacturing, and development (EMD) contract to one bidder in the 4th quarter of fiscal 2014.

Plans for the replacement to the 50 year-old M113 infantry carrier have been in the works for several years but have been coming along slowly as the service juggles two other vehicle replacement programs, the Ground Combat Vehicle and the Joint Light Tactical vehicle, and while it finished an analysis of alternatives study.

With the study in their pocket and an upcoming funding line in the fiscal year 2014 budget, it appears the service is ready to start the bidding.

While the AMPV is coming along at the same time as those two other big-ticket developmental vehicle programs, the Army isn’t looking at taking years to develop a brand new piece of kit with the AMPV – it wants bidders to submit mature technologies and systems that can be relatively quickly manufactured and put into the field.

To that end, the two main competitors poised to square off for the work are BAE Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems, who will offer versions of the Bradley fighting vehicle and the Stryker—including a new tracked Stryker variant—respectively. Navistar has also signaled that it might be interested in pursuing a bid in conjunction with an industry partner.

The document estimates that the service is planning on spending a little over $1.4 billion on the program between 2014 and 2020, with the bulk of that funding coming between fiscal years 2018 and 2020 when low rate initial production begins.

The broad outlines of the program have been clear for some time, but the draft offers a few new wrinkles. The biggest is that the Army announced it may agree to an “exchange agreement” with the contractor “to exchange Bradley, M113, M1068, M1064, and M577 vehicles for AMPVs.” This is in keeping with previous Army guidance to industry that competitors should “leverage existing M113 MEP where possible” in their designs.

Service spokesperson Ashley Givens explained that the AMPV exchange concept consists of the Army offering the vehicles “to the contractor in exchange for a credit on the AMPV contract. The contractor would then hold title to the optional exchange vehicles,” and the contractor “would then have the flexibility to use any portions of the exchanged material in their AMPV materiel solution as they see fit.”

At an April 2012 Industry Day, the Army told potential bidders that it is looking to buy 3,014 vehicles, with the vehicle’s average unit manufacturing cost of $1 million to $1.7 million. But the draft ups the price just a tad, saying that the Army is looking for a vehicle “at or below” an average manufacturing cost of $1.8 million per vehicle, while dropping the overall numbers of vehicles slightly to 2,907

The AMPV has five planned variants: general purpose, mortar carrier, mission command, medical evacuation and medical treatment.

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Paul McLeary

McLeary covers national security policies at the White House, Pentagon, the Hill, and State Department.
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