The Army has officially named its new Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) platform as the M10 Booker Combat Vehicle, with officials confirming the first production delivery is slated for this November.

The M10 Booker designation for the General Dynamics Land Systems

[GD]-built platform was unveiled on Saturday at an event celebrating the Army’s 248th birthday, with the service naming the new combat vehicle after two soldiers killed in action during the Iraq War and World War II.

The M10 Booker Combat Vehicle proudly displays its namesake on the gun tube during the Army Birthday Festival at the National Museum of the U.S. Army, June 10, 2023. (U.S. Army photo by Bernardo Fuller)

“The M10 Booker is named for two American servicemembers; Staff Sgt. Stevon A. Booker, who was killed in action in Iraq on April 5, 2003 during the Thunder Run in Baghdad and was subsequently awarded the Distinguished Services Cross, and Pvt. Robert D. Booker, who was killed in action under heavy machine gun fire on April 9, 1943 during World War II in Tunisia,” Doug Bush, the Army’s top acquisition official, told reporters ahead of Saturday’s event. “Our soldiers will now have an infantry assault vehicle that brings new levels of lethality to our ground forces and allows our men and women in uniform to move at a faster pace under greater protection.”

“Their stories and actions articulate the Army’s need for the M10 Booker Combat Vehicle, an infantry assault vehicle that will provide protection and lethality to destroy threats like the ones that took the lives of these two soldiers,” the Army said, noting in its statement that Pvt. Booker also “posthumously received the Medal of Honor for actions in World War II.”

General Dynamics beat out BAE Systems for the Army’s MPF contract last June, and was awarded a $1.14 billion contract covering delivery of up to 96 vehicles under low-rate initial production (Defense Daily, June 28 2022). 

The deal began with an initial delivery order for 26 vehicles. The Army originally expected first deliveries 19 months after contract award, while the new November target date would put that about two months ahead of schedule.

“It’s been a tremendously successful program to date. [It’s] on schedule and on budget,” Maj. Gen. Glenn Dean, program executive officer for ground combat systems, told reporters. “General Dynamics are working toward a November delivery, so they may yet be ahead of schedule.”

Ahead of the November delivery target, the Army said an approval request for the second low-rate initial production option is likely to occur in early fiscal year 2024 and the service is targeting late FY ‘25 for a full-rate production decision. 

Dean noted the Army will conduct additional testing with the initial production M10 Bookers in the lead-up to the initial operational test and evaluation period in late 2024 or early 2025, with an aim to achieve a First Unit Equipped milestone in late 2025. 

The Army’s current acquisition objective for the M10 Booker is 504 units, with Dean adding the goal is for GD Land Systems to build three platforms per month with an average procurement cost of around $12.9 million per vehicle, including subsequent maintenance and sustainment.

Dean also addressed findings in the Pentagon’s Director of Operational Test & Evaluation (DOT&E) report from 2022 that discussed issues for MPF with toxic fumes after the main gun was fired and challenges with the vehicle overheating.

“Toxic fumes was one of our concerns at the production decision. We’ve been doing some engineering and testing, and I can confidently say today that that is an issue that is behind us,” Dean said. “We were having some challenges with cooling the vehicle under hot performance conditions. The vehicles were overheating, which turned out to be an airflow problem with the cooling at the rear of the vehicle. I’m happy to say that at this point we’ve gone through testing and been able to prove that the design revisions that General Dynamics has made have worked and the vehicle can meet its performance requirements for high temperatures.”

The Army has previously said the potential total value for the M10 Booker program in terms of research and development and into procurement is roughly $6 billion and the total lifecycle cost estimate is for around $17 billion.

The service’s budget request for FY ‘24 included plans to procure 33 M10 Bookers (Defense Daily, March 13).