October 9, 2019

PROCUREMENT BLUES: Bradley Replacement: Army Risks Third Failure In A Row.

Experts fear the Army has undermined a top priority program, the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, by disqualifying one of the only two remaining competitors for not delivering its prototype on time.

“I cannot believe that is the reason,” said a baffled Thomas Spoehr, a retired three-star who headed the Army’s program analysis & evaluation office. There must be, he told me this morning, some more profound problem driving this decision: “Nobody wants to have this major program go forward with only one competitor.”

The news was broken by our colleague Jen Judson on Friday and confirmed to us by several sources. The Army declined official comment. Manufacturer Rheinmetall could not physically ship their Lynx-41 prototype from Germany to the US — which is strange, since they’ve managed to do so before — by the October first deadline. While some Army officials were willing to offer them an extension, the recently created Army Futures Command refused.

That leaves General Dynamics, offering an all-new design we describe below, as the sole competitor for the Engineering & Manufacturing Design (EMD) contract to be awarded early next year. A crucial caveat: Winning EMD does not guarantee General Dynamics will win the production contract, which will be awarded in 2023 in a competition open to all comers.

But any 2023 contender would have to refine their design at their own expense, without the constant feedback from the Army that comes with being on the EMD contract.

I hope there’s nothing fishy going on here, but this doesn’t smell quite right.

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