Rheinmetall has teamed with Raytheon to offer the Lynx KF41 Infantry Fighting Vehicle as the US Army’s Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV), replacing the service’s fleet of ageing fleet of Bradley IFVs.
This is the same vehicle Rheinmetall is offering for the Australian Army under project Land 400 Phase 3. The US does specify an “optionally manned vehicle.”
The US acquisition process has been accelerated, reflecting the need to field a modern IFV in place of the Bradleys which entered service in the early 1980s.
Although progressively modernised, the vehicle is outclassed by new generation armoured fighting vehicles now entering service around the world and marginal against the type of threats set to be encountered on future battlefields.
Proposals close next May, followed by shortlisting of two contenders who will build 14 vehicles for trials, starting in the first quarter of fiscal year 2020.
It’s anticipated acquisition would start around 2023.
That’s almost in parallel with the Australian procurement process under Land 400 Phase 3, with tenders closing in March 2019 a shortlist of two announced six months later, with each contender supplying three vehicles for what we call risk mitigation activities through to third quarter 2021.
The winner would be announced in 2022. Vehicles would be manufactured in Australia and initial operating capability would be achieved in 2024-25.
The US initially envisaged a far more extended and ambitious procurement, with NGCV to replace potentially both the Bradleys and Abrams tanks from around 2035.
Ben Hudson, head of Rheinmetall’s vehicle systems division, told US defence publication Defense News it realised it wouldn’t be able to compete for a program as prestigious and large as NGCV without a strong US partner.
He said the partnership brought together the world’s leading infantry fighting vehicle technology with Raytheon’s capabilities in systems integration.
Rheinmetall said the vehicle would need to be changed little to integrate future technology as it’s designed from the outset to be adaptable and modular.