Five variants are expected of 2,897 vehicles
At AUSA 2017, BAE Systems presents a prototype of the AMPV (Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle) tracked vehicle for an initial production batch. At the last show in 2016, a technology demonstrator was shown. The vehicles are intended to replace the M113 tracked vehicles in the US Army.
During AUSA 2017, representatives of BAE Systems and US Army revealed that 17 AMPVs have already been delivered to the US Army and that by the end of this year, 29 vehicles in total will be handed over (two brigades are planned for a deployment in Europe). It was also added that BAE Systems plans to produce roughly 131 vehicles annually, which will allow the US Army to equip one brigade every year. In total it is planned that the company would deliver up to 2,897 vehicles (including 600-700 during the first four years of full-rate production).
LRIP (Low Rate Initial Production) included 289 vehicles – it is expected to start in 2020. Engineering works are expected to be accomplished in 2019. Operational testing will run through 2018.
Five variants are expected: APC, command post, MEDEVAC, medical vehicle and 120mm mortar carrier. Vehicles from this initial batch (prototypes) are still being tested. The U.S. Army still expects some changes and upgrades, according to operational needs. Compared to the M113, the AMPV is characterised by higher mobility, increased power, enhanced ballistic and mine protection, as well as the already mentioned larger size.
The AMPV, based on the M2 BRADLEY, has a 60% commonality with a base version (M2A3 BRADLEY, but also M109A7 PALADIN SPH).
It includes transmission, tracks, and suspension. The vehicle has a new hull structure, which includes a new blast protection system. The AMPV provides 78% more interior space volume than the M113. The first vehicles were delivered to the US Army at the end of 2016.
BAE Systems is also upgrading the M109A6 PALADIN SPHs to A7 variant – it is now finishing its LRIP phase. 55 out of total 65 vehicles have already been producing this this phase. Operational testing – required before a full-scale production is announced – is planned for early 2018.
At the same time M2A3 BRADLEY IAFVs are being prepared for a modernisation to M2A4 variant. It was confirmed during AUSA 2017 that the company is finishing testing M2A4s vehicles at Yuma and Aberdeen Proving Grounds.
Dr. Robert Czulda