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05 Oct 10. The U.S. Army will set out its revised requirements for the Ground Combat Vehicle in three tiers, service officials told industry officials last week. At the Oct. 1 industry day, held in Dearborn, Mich., the Army revealed more information on the program than they had since the original request for proposals (RfP) was canceled on Aug. 25. This time, the Army will accept reduced capability to achieve affordability and schedule objectives. However, the GCV still needs to be better than its best existing vehicle, the Army told industry reps. According to one company’s notes on the day’s briefings, the first tier will include vehicle characteristics that are non-negotiable. Dubbed “the Big 4,” they include room for a nine-man squad, the ability to add or remove armor and other capabilities so it can handle everything up to full-on combat, “significant” force protection, and a seven-year deadline to deliver the first production vehicle. “Force protection is separate and distinct from survivability, which is the platform,” said Mike Smith, director for mounted requirements at the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence, in an Oct. 1 conference call with reporters. The second tier is features that are “tradeable but not deferrable;” i.e., the bidder must offer at least some of the functionality in the vehicle’s first increment, even if the full requirement cannot be met until later increments, GCV spokesman Paul Mehney said. The second-tier requirements will be listed in descending order of priority, moving down from mobility to lethality and survivability, according to the company’s notes. The Army has said the GCV program will be incremental, starting with a replacement for the Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, leaving open the possibility for additional variants in the future. The third tier includes items that are tradeable and deferrable to meet cost and schedule. The earlier RfP was criticized for not prioritizing requirements. “It’s very hard for a contractor, especially when he’s making trades of cost and risk, to have all the requirements equal,” said Army acquisition executive Malcolm O’Neill in an Aug. 31 interview. The Army still aims to issue the new request within 60 days of cancelling the old one.
“The caveat is what I don’t want to do, is to push something out on the street that isn’t quite right,” said Col. Andrew DiMarco, GCV program manager, during the conference call with reporters. The Army is also placing increased emphasis on affordability, providing targets for the vehicle’s unit manufacturing cost and life-cycle costs in the RfP, said DiMarco.
“We’re still working the range that we’re going to express in the RfP to
industry,” DiMarco said. According to the company’s notes, the Army’s criteria will include unit manufacturing cost. Technology demonstrators for certain vehicle features will be solicited as priced options to be exercised by the government based on the perceived risk within an industry team’s proposal, according to the notes. Demonstrator options will include an automotive test rig, indirect driving/situational awareness, a mine-blast hull and rocket-propelled grenade defeat,accord