Late on Wednesday the Army announced five winners for the design integration study to design a weapon station using a 30mm medium caliber weapon system (MCWS) gun on its Double V-Hull (DVH) A1 (DVH1) Strykers.
The contracts were no more than $150 million each and awarded to General Dynamics Land Systems [GD], Raytheon [RTN], Pratt & Miller Engineering & Fabrication Inc., Leonardo DRS, and Kollsman, Inc.
Last month the Army approved a timeline to upgrade its Strykers with a 30mm weapons platform and then outfit three brigades of the DVH A1 Stryker with the more powerful guns. The final vendor is expected to produce 294 MCWS platforms for the DVH Strykers, with the Army also looking to manufacture 169 systems over two production orders in the program’s first year.(Defense Daily, April 10).
During this two-phase process, Phase 1 will have these winners participate in a Design Integration Study where they will integrate a government-furnished XM813 30mm gun on a DVH Stryker. The goal is to build a production-representative system.
During a media call to reporters on Thursday, Lt. Col. Joe Rosen, product manager at Stryker Future Operations, said this will conclude with the contractor delivering a study for integrating the 30mm weapon as well as a production-representative system on a Stryker.
Phase 1 is set to end in September 2020.
Phase 2 will occur concurrently, with the Army team planning to release a subsequent full and open competition Request for Proposals (RFP) for a production and support contract for the MCWS.
Rosen said the Army expects contractors to “provide a production-representative sample with written proposals to integrate the weapon system on to a DVH1 for Phase 2.”
Clifton Boyd, deputy project manager in the Stryker Brigade Combat Team, told reporters the Army plans to circulate the Phase 2 draft RFP by the first quarter of FY ’20. “We always try to do things sooner than later, but at the moment, as we continue to move down this path, we’ll have a final RFP somewhere before the end of the first quarter of Fiscal Year ’20.”
Rosen noted “this two-phased effort, including fielding, is scheduled for an aggressive 39 months.”
He added the Army intends the MCWS to enter the Stryker fleet for fielding in the brigades in FY 2022.
While the Army intends to initially procure sets of these 30mm guns for three brigades, there may be a “subsequent Army decisions to follow for additional brigades,” Boyd said.
While the original solicitation mentioned the service may integrate the gun on up to eight brigades, Boyd said the Army is currently only resourced for three brigades “at the moment” given current funding available.
However, “we’ll have a decision point out while those three are in production in FY ’24, which is when they’ll make the next decision as to whether to build more brigades of the 30mm. So we were previewing to industry that there’s a potential to do eight brigades,” Boyd added.
As they move from Phase 1 and start Phase 2, Boyd explained the Army “hopes to provide insight into several innovative approaches to integrate the medium caliber weapon system onto a DVH1. At the end state the contractors will be expected to deliver a platform that is agile, mobile, and hostile; that can engage targets at greater range than we currently have; provide standup; and increase survivability for our soldiers.”
Boyd elaborated by comparing the effort to asking three separate builders to build a house and seeing how they make decisions on price, capabilities, tradeoffs, etc.
The Army hopes to understand the capabilities better, tradeoffs that might provide greater capability than the Army currently has, and to work with the soldier community end users “to identify priorities of those capabilities based on the designs that these vendors bring to the table.”