The U.S. Army has awarded approximately $299.4 million in contracts to five companies to come up with digital concept designs for the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle program.
The service said Friday the designs that Point Blank Enterprises, Oshkosh Defense, BAE Systems, General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) and American Rheinmetall Vehicles will produce under the concept design phase will inform the Abbreviated-Concept Development Document set to be published in the first quarter of fiscal year 2022.
“This process allows the Army to make future decisions on the design without overly constricting vendor efforts to innovate,” Brig. Gen. Glenn Dean, program executive officer for ground combat systems, said of the initial digital design phase.
After the concept design phase, the Army plans to award up to three contracts for the detailed design stage or Phase III through a full and open competition during the second quarter of FY 2023. The vendors will then move to develop and test prototypes under the fourth phase and the service will pick one vendor to begin low-rate initial production by the end of FY 2027.
Maj. Gen. Ross Coffman, director of the Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross Functional Team, said soldiers will offer feedback on the completed designs to inform the development of the vehicle.
Defense News reported the Army plans to build an open architecture for the OMFV program and formed a voluntary consortium in January to advance that plan.
Dean said the service has shared with industry its initial standards for the modular open architecture to gather feedback.
“That will close midway in this concept design phase so that those final standards can be incorporated into the design concepts that the contractors are completing,” he added.
The Army expects OMFV full-rate production to kick off in the second quarter of FY 2030 and plans to spend $4.6 billion on the program between FY 2022 and FY 2026.
“All the steps from now until the start of phase three [detailed design phase], which is a year from now, are meant to add granularity, inform the requirements process, so that we can get that in the hands of the acquisition professionals and the contracting professionals and we can write a [request for proposals] next year with some really solid and realistic goals and requirements,” Coffman told reporters prior to the contract award announcement.
In July 2020, the Army issued a draft solicitation for the initial design phase of the OMFV program, marking the relaunch of the competition to replace the service’s Bradley combat vehicles. The move came six months after the military branch decided to drop the competition to review the program’s acquisition strategy.