Army GCV Faces Budget Axe

The Army's replacement for the Bradley fighting vehicle is likely to be cut by $150 million next year.

The Pentagon is considering cutting more than $100 million from the Army’s massive effort to replace its outdated Bradley fighting vehicle.

According to a report by InsideDefense.com:

“A draft resource management decision from the Office of the Secretary of Defense would cut $150 million from the Army’s $1.4 billion budget request for the [Ground Combat Vehicle] in fiscal year 2014, but deeper cuts are also being considered by OSD’s cost assessment and program evaluation shop (CAPE) under a “ground forces program review” study. Sources said those cuts would slash between $600 million and $700 million annually from the GCV program between FY-14 and FY-18, according to a Defense Department official close to the matter.”

The news surfaced about one month after the Congressional Budget Office slammed the GCV program, arguing that the Bradley replacement will likely weigh more than the M1 Abrams tank. That means that the GCV could weigh as much as 84 tons, the CBO maintains. That’s twice as heavy as current Bradley vehicle.

The CBO latest working paper, “Technical Challenges of the U.S. Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle Program,” makes the GVC resemble overly ambitious Army programs that failed in the past such the Comanche attack helicopter, the Crusader self-propelled howitzer and the family of super vehicles under the failed Future Combat Systems program.

Matthew Bourke, an Army spokesman, acknowledged that the service was reviewing the GCV acquisition strategy but declined to discuss specifics. “The Army is currently reviewing the GCV [engineering and manufacturing development] phase acquisition strategy to ensure we maximize competition to the greatest extent possible, while maintaining affordability and requirements achievability,” InsideDefense.com reported.

The Army intends to replace about 40 percent of the Bradleys in its heavy combat brigades with GVCs. The Army issued a revised RFP in November 2010 after the initial solicitation were deemed too ambitious and created a real possibility that high technical risks and immature technologies would lead to spiraling costs and schedule delays.
The revised RFP left some flexibility in how the contractor could address the requirements and designated a manufacturing cost of between $9 million and $10.5 million per vehicle, an average procurement unit cost of $13 million per vehicle, and a sustainment cost of $200 per mile of operation.

Three teams submitted proposals.5 In August 2011, the Army awarded contracts valued at about $450 million each to two of the contractor teams: one led by General Dynamics Land Systems and the other by BAE Systems.