BAE Systems and General Dynamics [GD] have each been selected by the Army to build 12 prototypes for the Army’s new light tank for its infantry brigades.

The two companies beat out a bid by Science Applications International Corp. [SAIC] to move on in the Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) program.

BAE Systems’ vehicle model for the MPF tank is based on the M8 Armored Gun System with a 105mm cannon. GD’s offering combines a version of its latest M1 Abrams tank turret with a chassis originally built for the United Kingdom’s AJAX infantry armored vehicle program.

BAE Systems’ Mobile Protected Firepower submission. (BAE photo)

The contracts to rapidly develop and build operational prototypes are worth $376 million to BAE and $335 million to GD and cover the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the program. The initial award to BAE is for $176 million while GD received $175 million.

A final downselect to a single vendor is planned for fiscal year 2022.

Under the MPF, the Army wants a commercial, off-the-shelf capability that can offer long-range, direct-fire capability in a highly mobile armored vehicle.

The MPF program is expected include over 500 vehicles.

The completion of the rapid prototyping contracts is expected by Oct. 15, 2025.

SAIC this summer also lost a bid to BAE for the Marine Corps’ Amphibious Combat Assault program.

Jim Miller, director of Business Development at BAE Systems’ combat vehicles business, earlier this year said the company’s MPF vehicle was designed to be easily deployable and provide Infantry Brigade Combat Teams’ (IBCT) with upgraded technological capabilities (Defense Daily, March 10).

“Our solution is built around the IBCT’s needs and the evolving threats they face,” Miller said. “It is as deployable as the IBCT’s other equipment and is easily sustained and maintained with assets already organic to the IBCT. Our infantry fights in close terrain, urban areas, and remote locations, so a smaller, lightweight vehicle that still provides superior protection and lethality was essential to the design of our MPF offering.”