BAE Systems recently unveiled a groundbreaking prototype of the Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System (C-UAS) variant of the US Army’s Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV).
This development is part of a massive $797-million deal aimed at replacing the aging M113 Armored Personnel Carriers with cutting-edge technology and modular designs, offering both versatility and future readiness.
The C-UAS prototype offers enhanced anti-aircraft and anti-armor capabilities, showcasing the Army’s commitment to evolving its armored forces for modern warfare.
The unveiling of the C-UAS prototype is a pivotal moment in the AMPV program’s journey, which is poised to shape the future of the battlefield for decades to come.
BAE Systems’ AMPV Program Director, Bill Sheehy, emphasized the vehicle’s modularity and flexibility, making it an adaptable and growth-ready platform while hinting at the possibilities beyond the current family of vehicles.
Innovations in the AMPV CUAS Prototype
The AMPV C-UAS prototype incorporates several innovative features that are set to redefine the capabilities of armored vehicles in the US Army:
1 | Moog Reconfigurable Integrated-Weapons Platform (RIwP) Turret
At the heart of the C-UAS prototype is the Moog Reconfigurable Integrated-Weapons Platform (RIwP) turret, a key component of the Army’s Mobile Short Range Air Defense (M-SHORAD) system.
The RIwP turret is a modular and scalable remote turret known for its precision, medium-caliber, and indirect fires. It adds a dynamic anti-armor and anti-drone capability to the AMPV, reinforcing the Army’s defense against evolving threats.
2 | External Mission Equipment Package (ExMEP) Enhancements
The CUAS prototype also showcases the External Mission Equipment Package (ExMEP) enhancements. These innovations include an interchangeable top plate, which not only enhances the AMPV’s structural integrity but also offers a high degree of flexibility to quickly integrate other mission-specific equipment.
The modular approach of ExMEP paves the way for potential future turreted variants, further expanding the AMPV’s utility.
3 | Mission-Ready Command and Control Systems
Beyond its predecessors, the C-UAS prototype features mission-ready command and control systems, elevating the vehicle’s capability to manage complex operations efficiently. These systems are designed to enhance communication and coordination on the battlefield, a vital requirement in modern warfare scenarios.
Addressing M113 Shortcomings
The M113 Armored Personnel Carriers have served the US Army for decades, but they have become increasingly outdated and inadequate in addressing the demands of modern warfare. The AMPV program is an essential response to the M113’s shortcomings, aiming to provide substantial improvements in several critical areas:
The AMPV enhances the survivability of armored forces by integrating advanced protection mechanisms. In an era where emerging threats continuously challenge military assets, the AMPV offers a robust solution to ensure the safety of soldiers on the battlefield.
The modern battlefield requires robust force protection capabilities. The AMPV is designed to withstand threats and minimize the impact of hostile actions, offering enhanced protection to soldiers and critical mission equipment.
Mobility is a cornerstone of success in modern warfare. The AMPV offers improved mobility, enabling rapid deployment and response to various operational scenarios. Its mobility ensures that the US Army can quickly adapt to changing circumstances.
The AMPV’s power capabilities are significantly enhanced, addressing the evolving energy needs of modern military equipment. This ensures that the vehicle can effectively power various mission-specific tools and systems.
Significant Investment in the AMPV Program
Major General Glenn Dean, the Ground Combat Systems Program Executive, acknowledged the importance of the AMPV program, emphasizing its significance as an investment decision for the US Army.
This program holds the potential to replace a substantial portion of the tracked vehicles within the Army’s Armored Brigade Combat Teams. The C-UAS AMPVs are slated to replace 30 percent of these tracked vehicles, underlining the scale and importance of the modernization effort.
The contract with BAE Systems carries the potential for future developments, with a value of up to $1.6 billion. This underscores the Army’s commitment to continuous advancement and adaptation, ensuring its armored forces remain at the forefront of military technology and capability.
The Future of the Battlefield
The AMPV program lays the foundation for the future of the battlefield.
As mentioned, Sheehy highlighted that the vehicle’s modularity and flexibility allow for adaptability and readiness for growth. The C-UAS prototype is just one example of the possibilities beyond the current family of vehicles. This vehicle will continue to provide the support that soldiers need in battle, regardless of the mission’s nature.
As of August 2023, the AMPV program has been awarded a full-rate production contract, signaling its pivotal role in shaping the Army’s future and the future of its allies. The AMPV offers substantial improvements in power, mobility, interoperability, and survivability, providing a platform that meets the evolving needs of modern military operations.