22 Jul 2011 By MICHAEL HOFFMAN DefenseNews
Pentagon officials approved the U.S. Army's plan to field a $1.35 billion fleet of armored vehicles called the Ground Combat Vehicle following a July 21 Defense Acquisition Board review.
Army officials will proceed with the GCV program's technology development phase of the vehicle designed to replace the Bradley infantry fighting vehicle. Ashton Carter, the Defense Department acquisition chief, approved the Army's plan despite questions from inside and outside the service about the need for the armored vehicle and its affordability.
The Army plans to field more than 1,800 GCVs, which some analysts say could cost the service as much as $10.5 million per vehicle.
"The Army is committed to delivering a vehicle that provides soldiers with protected mobility in modern combat environments. The Army's proposed program builds upon refined requirements and a strategy to achieve an affordable solution to address soldiers' protected mobility in a seven-year schedule to the first production vehicle," according to an Army statement following the decision.
Three industry teams submitted a second round of bids in January to compete in the program's technology development phase of the program. A second round was needed after the service resubmitted the program's Request for Proposals after focusing the GCV's list of requirements.