The US Army has eliminated the Rheinmetall Lynx 41 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) from its long running contest to replace come up with an advanced optionally manned successor to its ageing Bradley IFV.
That leaves just one contender, a proposal by General Dynamics Land systems (GDLS) which hasn’t yet been revealed but is reportedly based around existing vehicles.
The US Army originally planned to consider bids from a longer list and pick two contenders who would each deliver 14 vehicles with the winner selected after extensive trials. The objective was to start replacing Bradleys in 2026.
Rather than conduct a one-horse race, it’s been suggested the US Army may decide to start again with a clean sheet and a range of viable contender vehicles.
Quite what implications this all might have for Australia’s Project LAND 400 Phase 3 isn’t clear.
The Rheinmetall Lynx KF41 remains a contender for the Army’s new Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) to replace the fleet of ageing M-113 Armoured Personnel Carriers, as does the Korean Hanwha Redback.
However, the GDLS Ajax IFV, now entering service with the UK Army, was eliminated in the shortlisting process, along with the BAE Systems CV90.
Hanwha was reportedly interested in the US Army contest but eventually chose not to participate.
From Australia’s perspective, it would be most desirable for the Australian Army to acquire the same or a mostly similar vehicle to the enormous US Army, with all the advantages of a common sustainment system and upgrade path.
What the US Army had in mind was quite similar to Australia’s requirement for a vehicle designed to better operate in future combat and threat environments, engaging in close combat and delivering decisive lethality in combined arms operations.
US threshold requirements included a 30mm gun system and advanced sensors, with the ability for optional crewing in certain missions. Bids closed on October 1.
Quite why the Lynx – prosed by a consortium of Rheinmetall and Raytheon – was eliminated remains unclear. However, US defence publication Defense News cited industry sources which said several companies which wanted to compete or submitted bids had asked for time extensions, roughly 90 days in the case of Rheinmetall, to meet requirements.
“According to multiple sources, potential bidders expressed concern to the service that meeting the requirements, the timeline and a combination of the two wasn’t possible,” Defense News reported.
Rheinmetall’s sole example of Lynx remains in Germany. The company apparently wanted more time to get it to Aberdeen for the US Army trials but that was denied.