Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and Full Spectrum teammates The Boeing Company, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall are bidding for the US Ground Combat Vehicle Program and called a press conference at Eurosatory to tell us about it. But anyone expecting to learn a few more concrete details about this rather vague program came away disappointed, not only because the US army requirement has been left vague but the team said that as this was a competition they couldn't tell us too much about their bid in case the other teams get wind of it. I actually wonder why they bothered holding a press conference at all.
But anyway, here's what I can tell you. There are four teams bidding for this contract: apart from Team Full Spectrum there is one led by General Dynamics, one led by BAE Systems and one which is a small business but from where and who it is nobody could say. Team Full Spectrum put in its proposal on May 21 and Jed Dunbar, SAIC vice president, told us that up to three development contracts could be awarded in September. Twenty seven months later there is expected to be a down selection of two. These two teams will then build six prototypes each and the 12 will then undergo side-by-side testing. “We expect there to be a down selection [of the winner] in about five years,” Dunbar said.
The army is believed to want 1,200 vehicles to be built over eight years.
“Our mantra, the underlying imperatives are that the vehicle protects, empowers and unburdens,” Dunbar said hinting that the design will be “informed by lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan.” The speakers – apart from Dunbar they were Steve Marion, senior program director, Boeing Network & Tactical Systems, Dr Thomas Kauffmann, KMW senior vice president sales & marketing and Andreas Riedel, general manager Rheinmetall Landsysteme -- also said the vehicle would be a US vehicle, would use the design legacy of the Puma turret and suggested that as an overall design the “Puma is a good starting point.”
The vehicle will probably weigh between 50 to 70 tons, it must carry three crew plus nine dismounts. At that size it is likely to be a tracked vehicle although the latter point has not been specified by the army. So, with this information in hand I challenge you to try and draw the vehicle!