US Army set to release new solicitation for OMFV in December 2020

The U.S. Army plans to publish a new solicitation for the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) next month, as it prepares to take the next step in delivering a new, advanced technology armored vehicle to support mechanized infantry operations on the future battlefield. Sean Kimmons, Army News Service, reports.
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Brig. Gen. Ross Coffman, director of the Next Generation Combat Vehicles (OFMV) Cross-Functional Team, speaks during the Ground Vehicle Systems Engineering and Technology Symposium in Detroit, Mich., Nov. 4, 2020 (Screenshot image)

The competitive request for proposal is expected to be released on or about Dec. 18, said Brig. Gen. Ross Coffman, director of the Next Generation Combat Vehicles Cross-Functional Team : “We want the best in the hands of our soldiers, because when our nation calls, our women and men will stand ready,” Coffman said. “As long as we give them the right orders, the right mission and the right equipment, they will, as they always have been, be successful.”

The new request is slated to ask for concept designs of the OMFV that will transform the way infantry Soldiers and maneuver formations fight on a battlefield. Up to five contracts will be awarded in June 2021 as part of that effort, followed by a second competitive RFP for a detailed design about a year and a half later, he said.

The Army plans to field the OMFV to both active and National Guard armored brigade combat teams starting in fiscal year 2028. About $4.6 billion is currently invested in the program from fiscal 2020-2026, Lt. Gen. James Pasquarette, the Army’s G-8, said during a presentation in late May.

Coffman said designs from industry may change how the Army delivers “fresh legs onto an objective” compared to a traditional infantry fighting vehicle. Or, they could possibly use a current IFV platform with enhanced technology to improve weapon systems, situational awareness, communications, and more. “Either technology can transform the way we fight, or an entirely different way of moving infantry women and men on the battlefield to achieve success,” Coffman said on Nov. 4 during the Ground Vehicle Systems Engineering and Technology Symposium.

Survivability will be the No. 1 characteristic of the OMFV, so it can fight through an enemy security zone while protecting the infantry Soldiers inside. Other characteristics include mobility, growth, lethality, weight, logistics, transportability, manning, and training. Granularity will be added to some of those characteristics in the request, Coffman said. While pushing through a security zone, the OMFV may face tanks, helicopters, artillery and other fighting vehicles. “It needs to be able to defeat those capabilities or else we can’t get through the security zone,” he said.

The general added the solution does not have to be a single platform. It could be a battalion-level formation of vehicles with a variety of weapon systems. “We’re up for any innovation that you have,” he said.

If up against a near-peer adversary, Coffman said he expects the OMFV will have to fight off more advanced threats on the battlefield. To do that, it may require a larger magazine depth, the speed to engage faster, and a gunner’s control unit that can handle multiple targets at the same time, he said : “We will fight outnumbered and we must possess the technology that allows us to do that,” Coffman said.

Any platform that the Army decides to develop will always need to be one step ahead of the enemy. “We cannot modernize to parity,” he said. “We must modernize for overmatch and that’s got to be our focus. Anything less than that is unacceptable.”