BAE Systems delivered its first Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle to the U.S. Army on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of BAE Systems
Sept. 2 (UPI) -- The first armored multipurpose vehicle, or AMPV, designed to replace Vietnam-era M113 tanks, has been delivered to the U. S. Army, builder BAE Systems announced.
The vehicle was handed over in a virtual roll-off ceremony at the BAE production line in York, Pa., on Tuesday.
Originally scheduled for March, delivery was delayed by manufacturing problems and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because of the issues, the Army adjusted its purchasing schedule, and indicated it would buy 32 vehicles in Fiscal Year 2021 instead of the planned 143 vehicles. The program's budget was also reduced from $445 million to $193 million.
The AMPV is regarded as central to the Army's efforts at modernization, and the Army has indicated the vehicle as its top priority for soldiers' safety. It will be integrated into the Army's Armored Brigade Combat Team, operating alongside M1 Abrams and M2 Bradley tanks.
The first prototype was built in 2016. Five variants of the AMPV were delivered to the Army in 2018 for testing, including vehicles for mission command, general purpose, mortar fire support, medical evacuation medical treatment.
"Finalizing the first AMPV for delivery marks a major milestone for the program and the U.S. Army," Bill Sheehy, program director for BAE Systems' ground vehicles product line, said in a statement. "The AMPV is designed to meet the Army's missions for the Armored Brigade Combat Teams, and lay the foundation for the future of the battlefield."
In February 2019, the Army awarded BAE Systems two contracts worth $575 million for low-rate production of the vehicle.