SAIC Preparing For Army’s Mobile Protected Firepower Decision In November, Interest In Next-Gen Combat Vehicle

SAIC [SAIC] is readying for a November decision from the Army on its Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) program to buy a new light tank for its infantry brigades, with officials also positioning their vehicle offering as a potential option for the service’s next generation combat vehicle (NGCV) effort.

Jim Scanlon, senior vice president for SAIC’s defense systems group, told Defense Daily Tuesday the company is submitting its final MPF proposal next week.

SAIC's Mobile Protected Firepower offering at the AUSA Conference. Photo: Matthew Beinart.

SAIC's Mobile Protected Firepower offering at the AUSA Conference. Photo: Matthew Beinart.

General Dynamics [GD] and BAE Systems are competing with SAIC for MPF, with the Army looking for a a vehicle that makes use of commercial off-the-shelf technology to find a mature solution rather than waiting through a developmental process.

“The key driver from the MPF program was how to bring mature capability to the force now. Schedule was the prevailing design criteria on that activity. And when you think about schedule you really think about maturity,” Scanlon said.

SAIC’s MPF partnered with Singapore’s ST Kinetics to build on its armored vehicle chassis, and brought on Belgium’s CMI Defence for its 105mm digitized turret and Israel’s Plasan for the platform’s armor.

Army officials this week at the Association of the United States Army conference observed several potential offerings for the imminent program to replace its Bradleys with optionally manned fighting vehicles (OMFV), a first step in its NGCV effort (Defense Daily, October 9).

Scanlon told Defense Daily his company’s modular approach to MPF sets up the vehicle as a potential offering for the NGCV.

“We’re engaging and discussing with the Army and monitoring and tracking very closely as the program unfolds,” Scanlon said. “When you think about the vehicle chassis, it’s a fully digitized platform. The most modern. It’s got the hooks for active protection. It has already has optionally manned potential. We believe we’ve kind’ve got a solution that spans the spectrum of mature today but also a growth path to what they’re trying to do in the future.”

SAIC has held discussion with Army officials on the 10 technology areas identified for NGCV including autonomous operations, advanced mobility, active protection systems and third-generation FLIR sensor technology, according to Scanlon.

“Fundamentally, as a company, we are a technology integrator,” Scanlon said. “MPF was schedule-driven, as in I’ve got to take mature technologies and capabilities now. When you look at an OMFV for the NGCV, totally different. That’s all about capability development. So what they don’t want are the capabilities of today, because you have that. It’s how can I provide them a solution that allows technology insertion going forward.”

Potential NGCV offerings on display at AUSA ranged from BAE Systems’ mature CV90 vehicle, to new systems including General Dynamics’ Griffin III and Raytheon [RTN] and Rheinmetall’s Lynx vehicles.

SAIC’s push to enter the vehicle market with MPF and potentially NGCV follows a recent loss in the Marine Corps’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle competition to BAE Systems (Defense Daily, June 19) and a stop worker order to halt upgrades for its Amphibious Assault Vehicles (Defense Daily, September 10).

“Certainly a lot will go with the decision in 45 days as to how the Army view’s our MPF platform as a baseline and what we do from there,” Scanlon said.

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