Army Releases Draft RFP for M113 Replacement

by: Matthew Potter
April 3, 2013

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Late last month the U.S. Army released a draft Request for Proposals (RFP) for the vehicle to replace the M113 fully tracked, armored personnel carrier. The new Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) will be used to provide supporting roles on the battlefield to the current M1/M2 forces and also work with the new Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) as it enters service. The goal is to have the final RFP out later this year and award a single contractor a development contractor by the end of FY2014.

Of course this will have to wait on the available funds in the 2014 budget whihc has yet to be sent to the Hill by the Obama Administration.

The M113 entered service in the early 1960’s primarily as a lightly armored vehicle to move infantry around the battlefield in conjunction with the M48 and M60 tanks. It was designed to protect against small arms and artillery rather then direct anti-tank weapons. Troops would dismount to fight from the vehicle rather then fight while moving. The M113 was very similar to other armed forces systems like the British FV432 or the Soviet BTR50.

Since the M113 chassis was available it was heavily modified to conduct a series of support roles like ambulance, command vehicle, mortar carrier as well as carrying Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGM) and even formed the basis for the M114 scout. The AMPV will not fulfill the infantry mission as the M2 and GCV are for that but is planned to do the supporting roles. The draft RFP calls for different versions including general support, mortar carrier, command vehicles and medical support vehicles. The Army plans to procure about 3,000 of the system.

The Army’s focus right now is on protection to counter the mine / Improvised Explosive Device (IED) threat which was most prevalent in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles developed and deployed to counter them there were not tactical vehicles but provided safe ability to transport troops around the countries. The GCV and AMPV will be tactical vehicles and there armor requirements reflect this. The GCV will be tank like in weight to protect 9 troops and 3 crew. The AMPV will not be as heavy but still requires significant underbody protection. At the same time they must be protected against direct and indirect battlefield threats such as tank guns, ATGM and man portable anti-tank weapons.

These requirements will drive up costs and development times. To save money on the AMPV, like the GCV, the Army is now proposing only one winner where previously it had been hoped like the successful MRAP-ATV program more then one development contract could be awarded and a drive off occur. Both General Dynamics (GD), who make the current wheeled Stryker Interim Combat Vehicle, and BAE Systems, the M2 Bradley manufacturer, are expected to bid. Other companies could also bid as there are several systems already in production that could with some modifications meet the requirements.

The winner would not only see the Army 3,00 vehicle requirements but probably quite a bit of FMS sales as other nations adopt the U.S. system.

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