The US Army chooses its new light tank to reinforce its infantry units

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

The US Army chooses its new light tank to reinforce its infantry units

The US Army has just announced that it has decided in favor of General Dynamic Land System's MFP light tank as part of its Mobile Protected Firepower program. But the M10 Booker, such is its name, is a light tank in name only...

After several failures linked to excessive technological and operational ambitions, the US Army had to, in 2015, urgently initiate an ambitious program to modernize its fleet of armored vehicles inherited from the end of the Cold War, such as the heavy tank. M1 Abrams, the M2/M3 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, as well as the M113 tracked personnel carrier.

After the cancellation of the Ground Combat Vehicle program in 2014, a new program was launched in 2017, called Next Generation Combat Vehicle, with the ambition of replacing the entire US Army tracked fleet.

This program consists of the Armored MultiPurpose Vehicle program intended to replace the American M113s with 2,897 tracked armored vehicles, the design and construction of which had already been awarded to BAE Systems in 2014, and the Optionally Manned Combat Vehicle program relating to the replacement of some 5,700 Bradley IFVs. in service within the US Army, about which a new competition was launched in July 2021 after the failure of the previous one a few months earlier .

The Decisive Lethality Platform program should make it possible to replace the 5,500 American Abrams heavy tanks, while the Mobile Protected Firepower program, aimed at restoring to American infantry units firepower lost since the withdrawal of the M551 Sheridan light tanks in 1997.

The US Army has now formalized its choice concerning the MFP program, after a competition between 12 prototypes delivered by the two finalists, BAE, with an evolution of the M8 Buford, a light tank initially developed in the 90s, but abandoned in the benefit from the Stryker wheeled armored vehicle, and General Dynamics Land Systems with an evolution of the Griffin III (in main illustration), also in the running for the OMFV competition.

During a press conference, Deputy Secretary of the US Army Doug Bush (no relation, he is an only child and a Democrat, Editor's note) confirmed the choice of the US Army in favor of the model of GDLS, without much surprise since numerous reports since March 2022 have reported the elimination of BAE System's M8 Buford at the end of the test campaign.

BAE's M8 Buford light tank was not selected by the US Army
THE modernized M8 Buford presented by BAE Systems did not convince the US Army

The manufacturer is therefore allocated a budget of $1.14 billion to produce and deliver the first 96 armored vehicles of a total order of 504 units, with a first delivery within just 19 months, and a rapid industrial ramp-up. to reach full production capacity by the end of 2023.

The entire fleet must be in service by 2035, at a rate of 42 light tanks per infantry brigade, for a total acquisition budget of $6 billion and a total life cycle budget estimated at 17 € billion, representing a significant acquisition cost of $12 million per armored vehicle.

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Fabrice Wolf
Fabrice Wolf
A former French naval aeronautics pilot, Fabrice is the editor and main author of the site. His areas of expertise are military aeronautics, defense economics, air and submarine warfare, and Akita inu.

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