Army cancels ground combat vehicle contract

The Army on Wednesday canceled its contract solicitation for a new ground combat vehicle and said it would issue a revised request for proposals within the next 60 days.

Three bidders were vying for the contract: BAE Systems, General Dynamics Corp. and SAIC, which teamed with Boeing Co. and two German firms, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall AG.

A statement issued by the Army said, "the contract cancellation was made at the earliest stage of the acquisition process, resulting in up to a six-month delay of the program, which will best ensure the long-term success of the ground combat vehicle program by better aligning vehicle capabilities with the anticipated needs of future combat operations."

The GCV program replaced an earlier plan to build manned ground combat vehicles under the wide-ranging Future Combat Systems program. Defense Secretary Robert Gates cancelled the FCS program last year due to concerns the program could not meet budget, schedule and performance goals. In remarks to troops earlier this year, he expressed frustration with the seven-year timeframe planned to field vehicles under the new program.

In May, the Army and Gates' acquisition office began an analysis of the ground combat vehicle program, known as a red team analysis. That study recommended the Army prioritize the planned vehicle's capabilities to meet achievable goals within the acquisition schedule.

"In conjunction with the red team recommendations, the Army determined that it must revise the acquisition strategy to rely on mature technologies in order to reduce significant developmental risk over a seven-year schedule following the initial contract award," the Army statement said.

Ultimately, the Army wants to buy 1,450 vehicles for a total cost of about $40 billion, including development costs.

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