It's not that
History the development of the famous American BMP M2 is full of surprises and metamorphoses, which can be found in the comedy widely known in narrow circles The Pentagon Wars. Recall that work on the creation of a new BMP for the US Army began in 1964 and ended only in 1981, by adopting the Bradley directly.
No less surprising is the story of the search for a replacement for this BMP, which, by the way, has become a worthy representative of American weapons and gave US fighters reliable protection in modern warfare. Nowadays, few people remember the existence of such a program as Future Combat Systems, which envisaged the creation of a whole family of new equipment for the ground forces, including the Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV) XM1206 infantry fighting vehicle. It would not be a great exaggeration to say that the program ended in nothing, while, according to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), at the time of the freezing of the project in 2009, it cost US taxpayers more than $ 18 billion.
In the same 2009, a new GCV program (Ground Combat Vehicle, "Ground Combat Transport") began, which became the de facto successor to the FCS. It is known that in the framework of the program, the US Army intended to replace the M113 armored personnel carrier by 2018, the Bradley M2 a little later, and the M1126 Stryker infantry armored personnel carrier in the medium term. You would think that the Americans took into account the negative experience, but this is not so. Already in 2014, the Ground Combat Vehicle program was closed.
Attempt number three
After the actual failures of Future Combat Systems and Ground Combat Vehicle, the United States launched the Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) in 2018, now known as the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV). We can say that the Pentagon somewhat tempered the ardor, abandoning the "complete" rearmament of ground forces. Now the Ministry of Defense wanted to get an average tracked infantry fighting vehicle capable of operating in controlled and unmanned versions, while having the ability to interact widely with different robots. They wanted to make it in a relatively short time and take it into service in 2026.
However, soon the new OMFV program itself turned into an epic stretching for many years, full of contradictions. At the beginning of 2020, it became known that the U.S. Army canceled the comparative testing phase of the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle program. The reason was that ... there was only one offer. This is a General Dynamics Griffin III combat vehicle. The Germans with their futuristic BMP KF41 Lynx were disqualified due to the fact that they did not timely provide a modified sample for testing: at least that was the formal reason. And even earlier, the British from BAE Systems and the South Korean Hanwha refused the competition. They were not satisfied with either the timing or the costs.
Needless to say, many managed to call the competition engaged? In this confusing story, you can give the floor to the Americans themselves.
“The army demanded great opportunities in a very aggressive schedule and, despite an unprecedented number of working days and efforts to develop requirements for two years, to help industry generate competitive proposals, it is obvious that the combination of requirements and schedule was excessive for the industry’s ability to satisfy the army deadlines. The need (in the new BMP. - Approx. Auth.) Remains obvious. OMFV is a critical area for the army, and we will move forward after the revision (program. - Approx. Aut.) ",
- quotes the words of the Deputy Secretary of the US Army Procurement Bruce Jett's bmpd blog.
Simply put, "there is nowhere to retreat - Moscow is behind!" The third setback will be almost a disaster for the prestige of the US ground forces. A replacement for the Bradley is needed, and as soon as possible.
A New Twist
In April 2020, the story received a new development, and it turned the OMFV program upside down. The Breaking Defense website in the article "OMFV: Army Revamps Bradley Replacement For Russian Front" talked about the new requirements that the US military makes for a promising infantry fighting vehicle. “No requirements from the first request for proposals remain valid. This is a new request for proposals, ”the publication cites the speaking lines of the US Army document.
It is noteworthy that the requirements for transportation by air have softened. As part of a previous request, the military wanted two OMFVs to be transported on the same S-17A. In other words, the infantry fighting vehicle should have been comparable with the Bradley in mass, but significantly superior to its predecessor in terms of security.
Now in the first place in the list of requirements is precisely security. The machine should not be too heavy: mobility put in second place. In addition, the promising BMP should have a "moderate" size and have sufficient firepower. An important aspect was the revision of the deadlines. The tender for the updated program will start in the fall of 2021: the US military expects to select up to five proposals. Then the number of participants will be reduced to three: they will have to build prototypes of infantry fighting vehicles by July 2025. The winner will be chosen in 2027, in the same year they want to begin pre-production. Start full-fledged serial production is calculated in the second half of fiscal year 2029.
Perhaps the Pentagon’s decision was influenced by Russian developments, in particular, the promising Armata tracked platform and the T-15 infantry fighting vehicle built on its basis. Or perhaps a unified medium tracked platform and infantry fighting vehicles, known as the “Object 695”. One thing is certain: American military theorists did not get what they originally wanted. Confirming more than once voiced the thesis that the best (in comparison with earlier models of armored vehicles) security with almost one hundred percent probability will entail a further increase in the mass of the combat vehicle.
On the other hand, the current situation confirms that the Americans as a whole are satisfied with the current armored vehicles and are ready to operate it for more than one year. While directing additional funds to develop a fundamentally new weapons, in particular, promising hypersonic missiles that can increase the potential of both ground forces and the United States Air Force and Navy.