General Dynamics Land Systems has been awarded a $1.14 billion contract to develop new light tanks for the US Army.
As part of the agreement, the company will begin with low-rate initial production for 96 Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) vehicles that provide infantry brigades with greater survivability.
It is based on the Griffin II light tank and includes a 105-millimeter gun as its main armament.
Additionally, the MPF vehicle utilizes a version of the fire control system mounted on the M1A2 main battle tank.
The tank is expected to identify threats earlier and at greater distances.
It would also reportedly allow soldiers to move more quickly and provide better protection for advance forces.
The US Army plans to procure 504 of the tanks, with initial deliveries scheduled in December 2023.
US Army acquisition official Doug Bush said that the MPF is a “benchmark program” for the service, as several units and departments worked together to complete the rapid-prototyping phase.
He further stated that army requirements for the vehicle’s development were followed, including moving the system into production in just under four years.
Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross Functional Team director Maj. Gen. Ross Coffman asserts that the new light tanks will present new capabilities for the army, such as allowing light maneuver forces to overmatch adversaries.
“Our soldiers have operated the prototypes and provided crucial feedback to the design team, ensuring our forces will have the asset they need on the future battlefield,” he said.
Once the initial low-rate production is completed, the US Army will conduct an initial operational test and evaluation before deployment.