SAIC [SAIC] will not compete for the Army’s Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle program as a prime contractor, but will look to continue pursuing vehicle systems integration opportunities such as its offering with Polaris [PII] for the Infantry Squad Vehicle (ISV) effort, a top company official told Defense Daily


Jim Scanlon, executive vice president of SAIC’s defense systems group, pointed to the significant investment required upfront for the OMFV bid sample process and said the company has focused on developing a higher level of production-level capabilities that it will look to apply for future combat vehicle business cases.

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

“We are not planning to pursue that effort as a prime [contractor],” Scanlon said. “We are still committed to the technology integration and platform modification-type activities of work that we’ve been doing for a long time.”

The OMFV program is the Army’s effort to replace its Bradley fighting vehicles, with interested vendors set to submit proposals and bid samples in October for the competition’s prototype phase. Without referencing OMFV by name, the incoming SAIC CEO last month told Defense One the company was no longer going to pursue the Army’s “large programs of record.”

SAIC’s decision follows recent unsuccessful bids for the Army’s Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) light tank competition and the Marine Corps’ Amphibious Combat Vehicle search. 

“[This] particular opportunity, and opportunities like MPF and so forth, the challenge that the government has, from the standpoint of bringing forward bid samples, is that it requires substantial investments from industry upfront. That’s not consistent with SAIC and the work that we do,” Scanlon said. “So those opportunities like [OMFV], they become the ones that we will, on a very case by case basis, determine whether it makes sense or not.”

Scanlon noted that the experience pursuing the larger combat vehicle programs allowed SAIC to refine its production capacity for technology insertion. 

“I think people tend to think SAIC’s only recently been in the vehicle integration business, when in reality we’ve been doing this for quite a long time,” Scanlon said. “What those programs allowed us to do was look at things on a higher throughput production level. That after-market tech insertion kind of capability, we’ve been doing that and we can continue to do that even today. But those programs of records, including MPF, was to help us focus further on developing production-level of capabilities, from the whole engineering cell to the electronic instructions, those kinds of things.”

SAIC has previously announced a partnership with Polaris to compete for the Army’s ISV program to find a new lightweight air-droppable platform (Defense Daily, August 9). 

Scanlon said a prototype award for ISV is “imminent,” with the Army planning to select up to two vendors to each deliver a pair of test vehicles. 

“We’re leveraging our systems engineering, C4I integration, domain aspects with their production capability with [Polaris’] DAGOR platform. We saw that as a very good team to bring forward to go after the ISV program,” Scanlon said. 

 The partnership on the DAGOR offering utilizes SAIC’s experience integrating vehicles’ mission packages, according to Scanlon, who cited the company’s work on programs such as the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected trucks. 

Scanlon said the company’s ISV offering went through successful user trials this summer with the 82nd Airborne Division, which included off-road mobility trials as well as reliability and maintenance evaluations. 

“In general, we believed that the DAGOR performed very well, and the feedback was very good,” Scanlon said. 

BAE Systems has also previously announced that it will sit out the OMFV competition, deciding to instead focus on the Army’s Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) and Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) programs (Defense Daily, June 10).