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Five companies picked for prototypes of M2 Bradley replacement

Five companies will share a $299.4 million Defense Department contract for design of the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, to replace the M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, pictured. Photo by Sgt. Eric Garland/U.S. Army
Five companies will share a $299.4 million Defense Department contract for design of the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, to replace the M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, pictured. Photo by Sgt. Eric Garland/U.S. Army

July 26 (UPI) -- Five defense contractors have been awarded contracts for the second phase of development of the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, which is planned to replace the M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle.

Point Blank Enterprises, Oshkosh Defense, BAE Systems and Land Armaments, General Dynamics Land Systems and American Rhinemetall Industries will share a $299.4 million contract to develop digital designs of the new IFV.

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Working prototypes will be expected in the next phase of development. Each company will develop initial concepts through Modeling, Simulation, and Analysis, known as MS&A, leading to a System Functional Review in the next phase.

The requirements of the OMFV include its capability to be remote controlled and operate with no more than two crewmen when manually operated; room for at least six soldiers; transportability by a C-17 cargo plane; and combat readiness within 15 minutes, according to a report to Congress in June.

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The vehicles must also have the ability to "apply immediate, precise and decisively lethal extended range medium-caliber, directed energy and missile fires in day/night/all-weather conditions, while moving and/or stationary against moving and/or stationary targets," the report said.

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The M2 Bradley, in various iterations, has been in use since 1981.

Each company selected will work with a consortium of partners on their designs, and expressed confidence in statements after Friday's announcement.

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"Each of our industry partners will contribute their own best-in-class expertise in ground combat vehicles, turrets, armor, and autonomy. Together, we will provide a modular OMFV solution designed to defeat emerging threats with flexibility and room for growth to accommodate evolving requirements," Pat Williams, president and general manager of U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps programs at Oshkosh Defense, said Monday in a press release.

Presentations leading to the prototype phase are expected within 15 months.

"With this contract award, we take another important step forward in bringing the kind of next-generation technology solution, partnership and industrial capability the U.S. Army deserves," Matt Warnick, managing director of American Rheinmetall Vehicles, said Monday in a press release.

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