Army delays GCV program

Army delays GCV program

Army acquisition leaders moved Jan. 16 to delay its top modernization program, the Ground Combat Vehicle, in hopes of making it more viable in the face of expected defense budget cuts.

The Army issued a memorandum Jan. 16 announcing the addition of a six-month extension of the Technology Development phase of the GCV Infantry Fighting Vehicle program. Defense companies will have more time to “refine vehicle designs,” according to an Army statement.

Company executives will have to review those designs as the Army has removed a possible contract later in the development program. Army officials chose to shrink the Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase down to a single vendor while also not authorizing planned procurement of long lead items for EMD prototypes.


Army leaders don’t plan to make a Milestone C decision for the program until 2019, according to the memorandum.

The Army hope to use the GCV to replace the aging Bradley infantry fighting vehicle. The Bradley has been in service since 1981.

Army brass has listed the GCV as their top modernization priority — the program they want to protect over other competing programs. However, questions exist whether the Army should develop a heavy, armored vehicle under the new defense strategy.

Delays are a reality for many of the Pentagon’s major acquisition programs as a strategy to survive the planned budget cuts. Those cuts could become more severe should sequestration hit and result in a 10 percent cut across the Defense Department to include modernization programs.

The Army is continuing to work on its analysis of alternatives that includes many infantry fighting vehicles used by foreign militaries. Many defense analysts expect the Army to end up leaning on existing technologies and current vehicles rather than pursuing a full development program because of financial restrictions.

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I figure they will try to save this and a few other worthless programs since cuts and sequestration are coming. Overall they are updating M-2s Bradley so this should be let go as a major waste of money since they are already updating all current APCs.

“Defense companies will have more time to “refine vehicle designs,” according to an Army statement.”

Is the Army going to re-define the requirements, or are they just going to let the designers guess?

At this point the requirements are set. They’re now letting the companies figure out the best way to meet them. BAE has a vehicle that meets all the requirements but weighs 60 tons. If they can shave off some weight this year then they’ll put this time to good use.

A supposed “infantry fighting vehicle” which weighs as much as does a heavy main battle tank.

That’s where the “Ground” part of this “Ground Combat Vehicle” monicker comes from. The thing will be stuck to the ground as though by giant magnets. It certainly isn’t going to be moving around via existing intratheater airlift.

The heavy IFV concept, if doctrine matches up with it, has much to recommend it. The Namer is very impressive.

But here we have the Big Army bureaucracy on the one hand pushing doctrine which repeatedly stresses being light, fast, flexible, responsive and mobile by air. While on the other hand the same Big Army bureaucracy is designing and funding systems like GCV which are anything but compatible with that doctrinal model.

Utter intellectual and organizational incoherence.

Yeah, what’s so wrong with the BFV?

I’m guessing that at 60 tons it’s already too expensive. Shaving more weight would mean substituting expensive materials (titanium, ceramics) for cheap ones (steel, aluminum), making it even less affordable and much more expensive to maintain in the long run.

In effect, the Army chose 70+ tons when they specified the requirements and the cost cap.

Upgrading Bradley is cheaper than developing and buying totally new vehicle… it’s a really good vehicle.

No new vehicle = less money for the MIC.

Note the sleight of hand, GCV was supposed to be based on mature designs with two competing prototypes. But — no, we’ll “save money” now by going to a downselect before only one prototype is built. This is the sound of the can getting kicked down the road. Lucy pulls the football out from Good Ole’ Charlie Brown once more. I’ll believe GCV gets fielded when I see it — if I live that long.

They will need this vehicle here at home to control terroists[opps conservatives].

It takes years to develop new vehicles. if they’re lucky, the new vehicles will be ready before the current upgrade of the M2 becomes obsolete.

The Namer is very impressive — but the Israeli’s don’t have to transport them very far meaning logistics aren’t that much of a problem. For the USA — logistical is a huge problem — and it is somewhat ironic that just when the DoD is doing a ton of research to reduce logistics burdens that the M2-based version of the GCV weighs more than an M1A2.

While I’m all for crew protection — I’m also for having a GCV that can be transported, use the same bridges that an M1A2 can use (minimally), and hopefully lighten the logistical burdens we’re currently saddled with.

If we stop giving billions of dollars to other country for their purpose instead of ours, we could develop new items needed. If we stop giving new equipment off the lines to other countries instead of our own military, we would have a modern ized military. If we stop the idiot game of huge cost over runs such as the F35 and hold the companies and military project leadership responsible for these overruns. Stop supportting the 12–13 million illegal immigrants.Clean up the military from bottom to top( overweight, not passing promotion guidelines, causing constant trouble, taking better care of equipment we already have. streamline the ordering process and more!!!!!!

Please, watch “The Pentagon Wars” http://​movies​.netflix​.com/​W​i​M​o​v​i​e​/​T​h​e​_​P​e​n​t​a​g​o​n​_Wa

I was at AMC when the Bradley was being developed, along with the Sgt York. This movie truely protrayed the systems development process back them. Retired now, appears that it hasn’t changed much. At 70+ tons why not just convert some of the excess M1As into APCs.

It’s not that it’s too expensive, that is a problem though. Its that 60 tons is just too big for the role it plays

We need a better policy and a better way to procure military vehicles. Weight becomes a problem in some types of conflicts, but not in others. IED’s need to be defeated and one way to do that is to go heavier, but why not think smarter, not harder. There is a way to keep the vehicles safer and maybe prevent TBI’s and other injuries from the concussive blasts of IEDs and other explosives. While we are doing this, we need to understand that wars are extended and delayed because of the failure of the military to consider Artillery. Name wars that were not won with Field Artillery. We needed it in Afghanistan and Iraq and we need it now. If you can’t reach out and touch the enemy, then you are not going to win. 155sp’s and MLRS could have been used quite effectively in Afghanistan for sure and it did work in Iraq in the first Gulf War. Maybe we need to rethink our strategy and ask the people that were actually there not a bunch of contractors who maybe watched it on video or from word of mouth. Let’s put some contractors in these vehicles the next time we have a combat action and they DARN SURE will come up with something that works and keeps the crews safe. I am not convinced about the military going leaner and lighter when we have a lot of areas we have to fight in where we need both heavy, light and maybe even ultralight forces. It is all politics. If you remember, the military is just an “extension of political will” nothing more, nothing less.

Obsolete against what no Russian or Chinese APC is better than ours for a while.

If they(Namers) were stationed at NAS Corpus Christi, Fot Bliss, Ft Huachuca, MCAS Yuma and Camp Pendleton to defend our borders, then logistics is not a problem for us either. No need to move them North as the Canadians have fortified thier Southern border very well to deal with any problems from their constantly adventurous and belligerant neighbor to the South.

It gets better, VeP: GEN Odierno said today that the Army is willing to “accept risk”* by ending the competition early, but that it’s the only thing that makes sense in this budget environment.

Now, under what circumstances does it make sense to incur large additional cost and risk in the future, in order to save some money today? Only in a “temporary liquidity crisis” — when you have an immediate cash need AND you are convinced that you will have more free cash in the near future. The Army is betting the farm on not having to endure any kind of long-term reduction of budget levels below what they have been in the recent past. Anyone else want to take that bet?

(*)“Accept risk” is defense jargon for “make a stupid decision, knowing it to be stupid”.

Undersized squads. Problematic recurring costs.

The squad size issue is real. The recurring cost issue is not: when the new vehicle costs three or four times as much as the old one, and includes much higher tech (like APS), its O&M costs are going to be higher — even brand new — than the old one.

Actually, that is a really interesting idea. Protection, mobility, maybe room for a full squad without the tank turret. Only problem is that the powerplant is in the way of the egress. Otherwise, it’s like the US version of Namer. Wonder how the Israelis did it?

Oops — Merkavas have their engine up front. Answered my own question…

I don’t mind seeing programs getting stretched to meet budgetary constraints. I do mind changing the program aquisition strategy (and in too many cases, the program requirements) every two to four years. This is how we end up with a big bag of nothing.

In a previous thread on this subject, I quoted the hard-bitten old engineering maxim, “Fast, cheap, good. Pick any two.”

In the context of IFV design, it’s “Protective, easily air-transportable, carries a 9 man squad. Pick any two.”

Commenter majr0d, out of the mech inf community, said in response that it has proven extremely difficult and hazardous to have squads split between multiple vehicles. I fully credit his thinking in that regard. Let’s take that as a non-negotiable design point: full squad per vehicle.

So that means we pick either protection or air transportability to give up on.

Scrap air transportability? OK. Protection and full squad size. Namer or equivalent.

Scrap protection? OK. Air transportability and full squad size. Improved M113 or equivalent.

This is tough stuff. Darned laws of physics again. We should really repeal some of them. Let’s get Congress right on that.

The M2 Bradley is a good vehicle, but has multiple short comings that need to be addressed in a replacement. The M2 was to replace the M113 and with all of the armament (TOW and 25mm Gun)
doesn’t have enough space left for a full squad. The M2 Bradley was developed because the M113 didn’t offer enough armor protection for the crew and squad. Now every vehicle will have to survive IED’s that will make it heavy by necessity. Until there is a new fool proof way to detect and disable IED’s in a convoy setting, there will have to be heavy armor on a personnel carrier. The Stryker is now the best compromise on the battlefield and it won’t stand up to a large IED. There are trade-off’s in every design.

Something I haven’t heard much of, but have personally thought about, is would it not be possible to build a stretched M2? One would think a stretched M2 variant (With the drivetrain and suspension upgrades that entails)would fix the biggest failing of the M2, being the limited capacity. It would still have most of the current M2s vulnerabilities of course, but some things are just going to have to be vulnerable. Trying to cover every possible failing gives you the infamous Maus: A oversize, overpriced behemoth that really can’t do much well

Screw IEDs. You can counter IEDs with doctrine, training and material solutions that don’t distort vehicle design and make them less capable. The whole V-shaped hull thing was just a lame excuse to cancel MGV. As this kick-the-can-down-the-road nonsense continues, we can see what that was all about in the first place. It was never about anything but delaying production costs. Problem is, the longer you wait, the higher your sunk development costs become, and you build up this huge procurement bow wave — the next generation ends up having to foot the bill. Or you put the whole force into a death spiral, cutting force structure over and over again to pay the bills. The Stryker is a weak combat vehicle, deficient in many respects — not even as capable as an LAV.

Please don’t suggest that, even in jest, because if they thought it would win then some votes, they would actually try.

We’ve never really had to deploy tracked mechanized infantry by plane and if we had to get their in that kind of time frame we can send Strykers. That’s the reason we bought them. I’d pick protective but perferably not tank like protection because of the deployment requirements and cost. We have become so casualty averse that it’s a strategic vulnerability.

Money is going to be incredibly tight. I sense a stretched Bradley will be the fall back position.

Hmmm, another one of the few that watched the inaugural speech.

“The Stryker is a weak combat vehicle, deficient in many respects — not even as capable as an LAV.” BS Flag. That is so untrue. The Stryker actually exceeds the LAV in protection, lethality and is equal in mobility.

If Ieds could be defeated that would have been done over a century ago. Their impact can be minimized with the solutions you suggested but it will never be eliminated. Finally there is no IED proof vehicles. The enemy just builds them bigger. M1s have been victims of IEDs. We do need to get past our phobia of IEDs created by the last decade. Again, casualty aversion has become a strategic weakness.

I think in the end this is what will happen. We just don’t have the money.

Classic example of letting on what you really think when you believe no one will be listening.

The Stryker infantry carrier has only a .50 caliber up top, while the LAV has a 25 mm.

Any other false statements you want to make ?

The LAV isn’t an Infantry carrier.

Why don’t you compare the LAV against the Strker MGS? That would be a 25mm vs. a 105mm or the ATGM Stryker armed with TOWs? Both have more lethality than the LAV.

Then there’s the fact that the Stryker has more armor than the LAV from all aspects.

You can’t support your statement, “The Stryker is a weak combat vehicle, deficient in many respects — not even as capable as an LAV.” without making ONE apples and oranges comparison that is wrong let along identifying “many” deficiencies. Just an old school tanker with old school bias.

VP, if you’re talking about the Marines’ LAV, it’s a scout vehicle and can only hold a team. The Stryker has been redesigned a couple times since it was fielded to better deal with IEDs and urban warfare, while the LAV25 hasn’t changed one bit.

From what I’ve heard from serving marines, the LAV is also horribly unreliable. I mean, the newest stryker models are actually one of the vehicles being looked at to replace the LAV under the MPC program.

Well, what I distinctly remember is how proud my Marine colleagues were of the LAV, in relation to the Bradley and its problems. And, in Canada and other armies, LAV is used as an infantry carrier. But in any case, the logic is distorted — if you need to mount Marines on vehicles for ground ops, what do you use ? Surely not AMTRACS. You go to your equipment pool to find the rides.

The insame are running the asylum.

Agreed. We were never going to airlift entire ABCTs in the first place, and you can get them most places by ship even faster (and much cheaper) than an airlift.

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