The 82nd Airborn Division, at Fort Bragg, NC will soon be receiving prototypes of the new Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) vehicle. These new Army vehicles are designed to complement the missions of infantry units, assisting them in mobility. They will also provide the capability of destroying armored vehicles, buildings, and entrenched positions in a peer to peer conflict setting.
General Dynamics Land Services and BAE Systems were both contracted to build 12 prototypes for military testing.
The General Dynamics design is based on the AJAX chassis, which is used by the United Kingdom. The chassis is combined with an M1 Abrams tank turret, making it the larger of the two prototypes. BAE’s design is an upgraded and updated version of the M8 Buford Armored Gun System. BAE’s vehicle’s size is between the Army’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle and the Stryker.
Defense News recently published an in-depth article on this new vehicle.
The Army requires that these vehicles be able to fit on a C-17.
The military is going to let the infantry units decide which vehicle is the best. The soldiers of the 82nd Airborne will use and test these vehicles in some of the toughest training conditions.
The 82nd will work with the vehicle prototypes from January 4, 2021, through June 2021.
A statement released on December 11 said, “Soldiers of the 82nd Airborne will soon get the chance to do something no U.S. infantry soldier has done in 26 years — employ a dedicated mobile, direct fire vehicle platform against hardened positions, dismounted personnel and light armored vehicles.”
In the statement, the program executive officer for Ground Combat Systems, Brig. Gen. Glenn Dean said, “We are incredibly excited to see the MPF platform entering into this phase. MPF represents an innovative and aggressive approach to system acquisition. The beginning of our SVA in January illustrates how hard the teams are working to keep the major events of this program on schedule.”
The statement went on to say that the Army’s new vehicle is “an integration of existing mature technologies and components that avoids development which would lengthen the program schedule. The priority has always been to field this new critical capability soonest, but the MPF will also be capable of accommodating additional weight and spare electrical power to support future growth.”
The Army’s intent is to choose the winning vehicle and begin production by the end of the fiscal year 2022.
According to the schedule, Army units should begin receiving the MPF in 2025. The goal is to initially build 26 vehicles, with the option to build 28 more, and in addition, retrofit eight of the prototype vehicles.