Report to Congress on Army Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle Program

April 20, 2021 11:13 AM

The following is the April 19, 2021 Congressional Research Service report, The Army’s Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) Program: Background and Issues for Congress.

From the report

In June 2018, in part due to congressional concerns, the Army announced a new modernization strategy and designated the Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) as the program to replace the M-2 Bradley. In October 2018, Army leadership decided to redesignate the NGCV as the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) and to add additional vehicle programs to what would be called the NGCV Program.

The M-2 Bradley, which has been in service since 1981, is an Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) used to transport infantry on the battlefield and provide fire support to dismounted troops and suppress or destroy enemy fighting vehicles. Updated numerous times since its introduction, the M-2 Bradley is widely considered to have reached the technological limits of its capacity to accommodate new electronics, armor, and defense systems. Two past efforts to replace the M-2 Bradley—the Future Combat System (FCS) Program and the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) Program—were cancelled for programmatic and cost-associated reasons.

In late 2018, the Army established Army Futures Command (AFC), intended to establish unity of command and effort while consolidating the Army’s modernization process under one roof. AFC is intended to play a significant role in OMFV development and acquisition.

On March 29, 2019, the Army issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to industry for the OMFV. The Army characterized its requirements as “aggressive” and noted industry might not be able to meet all requirements.

On January 16, 2020, the Army canceled the current OMFV program, intending to restart the program following an analysis and revision of program requirements. According to Army officials, “a combination of requirements and schedule overwhelmed industry’s ability to respond within the Army’s timeline.”

On February 7, 2020, the Army reopened the OMFV competition by releasing a new market survey with a minimally prescriptive wish list and an acquisition strategy that shifted most of the initial cost burden to the Army.

On April 9, 2020, the Army provided new OMFV program guidance to industry featuring a five-phased approach to acquisition as well as a pledge to “reduce foreign barriers to competition,” and “identify a pathway to integrate relevant but immature technologies” into the program.

Reportedly, the three companies that participated in the first iteration of the OMFV competition—BAE Systems, General Dynamics Land Systems, and American Rheinmetall—have announced they plan to bid for the new OMFV program. Phase Two of the new competition, the Preliminary Design Phase, is planned to begin June 25, 2021, and run for 15 months.

Potential issues for Congress include the Army’s new OMFV Acquisition Strategy and OMFV program decisionmaking authority.

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