The Army is expecting to ‘maximize’ the field of competitors for its rebooted Optionally Manned Fighting (OMFV) competition when its proposal deadline closes on April 16, to include offers from a broad range of industry partners, a lead official said Monday.

“I think this is exciting. It’s exciting for several reasons. Number one, we’re going to have some traditional and non-traditional [industry partners], we believe, that are going to be competing. We think with the way we’ve structured the characteristics and the modeling and simulation that we’re going to maximize the field of who’s going to compete,” Maj. Gen. Ross Coffman, director of the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle Cross Functional Team, said during an online Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments  discussion.

U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Chez Carter, assigned to Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division ground guides a M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle during a Table XII Live Fire Exercise at Novo Selo Training Area in Bulgaria in 2018 (U.S. Army Photo)

The Army released the Request for Proposals for OMFV in December, refocusing the competition around an initial digital design phase to increase participation and bolstering industry’s opportunities to shape the vehicle’s requirements (Defense Daily, Dec. 18). 

This is the second attempt at the Bradley replacement program after the Army canceled the original acquisition effort in early 2020, which faced scrutiny after a single bid sample from General Dynamics [GD] was accepted for the program’s prototype phase.

To date, only Germany’s Rheinmetall has publicly said it is planning to compete for OMFV, announcing plans in October to offer its LynxKF41 platform and team with Textron Systems [TXT] on the effort (Defense Daily, Oct. 20). 

Coffman also said a key component of OMFV will focus on ensuring offerings are built with open systems architecture in mind to ensure capacity for rapid, consistent software upgrades to the platform.

“If we rely on the old way of doing it where industry owns the IP, every time you want to change software you have to go back to the OEM, they charge you a lot of taxpayer money to do it and then they roll it in and you can’t do it fast enough. We want to have an open systems architecture so we can spin this in as fast as possible to maintain currency,” Coffman said. “We cannot modernize to parity. We’ve got to modernize to overmatch. In order to maintain overmatch, you’ve got to be able to update early, often and repetitively.”