GDLS M10 Booker vehicle offers new firepower for US Army Infantry Brigade Combat Team

At the AUSA 2023 event, the Association of United States Army Conference & Exhibition that takes place in Washington D.C. from the 9 to 11 October 2023, General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) displayed the M10 Booker, a vehicle set to enhance the firepower and lethality of the Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT). Equipped with a 105mm gun, it's designed to target fortifications, gun placements, trenches, and also offers defense against enemy armored units.
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General Dynamics Land Systems GDLS M10 Booker fire support vehicle at AUSA 2023 in Washington D.C. (Picture source GDLS)

Back in November 2017, the U.S. Army initiated a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase. To encourage competition, they intended to grant up to two Middle Tier Acquisition (MTA) contracts for this phase by the start of FY2019.

By December 17, 2018, the U.S. Army had given two Section 804 Middle Tier Acquisition (MTA) Rapid Prototyping contracts for MPF. The beneficiaries of these contracts were General Dynamic Land Systems (GDLS), Inc. and BAE Systems Land and Armaments, both based in Sterling Heights, MI.

Fast forward to June 14, 2023, the U.S. Army rebranded the MPF as the M-10 Booker infantry assault vehicle. Shortly after, on June 28, 2022, they declared a $1.14 billion contract with GDLS to manufacture and deploy up to 96 M-10 Booker units.

The U.S. Army's procurement goal for the M10 Booker stands at 504 units. Army representatives have hinted that this figure might undergo minor adjustments. As per the current roadmap, the Army aims to deploy four M10 Booker battalions by 2030 and expects the majority of the procurement to be finalized by 2035. The M10 Booker marks one of the U.S. Army's significant combat vehicle introductions since the 1980s. Its design boasts a 105 mm primary weapon, protective armor, smoke grenade launchers, and features to increase resilience against various threats.

The U.S. Army has been in search of a lightweight tank since the M551 Sheridan's retirement. The M1128 MGS served as a temporary fix, but it had its mechanical issues. The M10, even with its weight comparable to the T-72, is being sourced for armored cavalry divisions. The M1A2 Abrams tank is simply too heavy for this purpose, leading to the M10's introduction.

There are whispers that the U.S. Army intends to establish an M10 Booker battalion at the division tier. From this core group, M10 Booker squads would be distributed to IBCTs. On the staffing front, each MPF squad necessitates 64 armor operators and 24 armor maintenance personnel to oversee MPF equipment. Considering the current recruitment landscape and future projections, the Army may face hurdles in sourcing the required MPF crew and maintenance teams for these new divisions.

Defense News October 2023