Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle
The M113 has been in service since the early 1960s and while able to take on various roles, has proven too vulnerable for combat. In the 1980s, the M2 Bradley replaced the M113 in the front-line transport role, moving it to rear-area roles. In the Iraq War, urban warfare tactics still defeated the M113, leading it to be nearly replaced entirely in active service by MRAP vehicles. MRAPs were useful on the roads of Iraq, but have less payload capacity and poorer off-road performance. The AMPV aims to find a vehicle more versatile and mobile against a wide range of adversaries while having off-road mobility compared to Bradleys and M1 Abrams tanks.
Some reports suggested that the AMPV program was being favored over the Ground Combat Vehicle program. While procurement of the AMPV fleet would cost over $5 billion, the Government Accountability Office estimates the GCV fleet would cost $37 billion. In April 2013, the Congressional Budget Office said the AMPV would be a better buy because analysts have asserted that the vehicles the GCV is slated to replace should not be first. The GCV Infantry Fighting Vehicle would replace 61 M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles per armored combat brigade, making up 18 percent of the 346 armored combat vehicles in each armored brigade. A 24 September 2013 Congressional Research Service report suggested that given budgetary constraints, the GCV program may be unrealistic, and that one potential discussion could focus on a decision by the Army to replace the GCV with the AMPV as their number one ground combat vehicle acquisition priority. The Army FY 2015 budget proposal suggests cancelling the GCV program and moving funds to the AMPV as the service's priority vehicle program.
In order to keep development costs down, the Army is requiring the vehicle be a commercial off-the-shelf design that can be incrementally improved. The vehicle would have new technologies including electronics, networking, and communications gear added onto the platform as they become available later. If the AMPV can incorporate newer satellite communications as they are developed, they could be linked to other ground vehicles that would normally require a complete subsystems overhaul for new gear after a certain number of years. The operational maintenance cost requirement of the AMPV is up to $90 per mile, compared to $58 per mile for the M113.
On 21 March 2013, the Army issued a draft request for proposals (RFP) for the AMPV. The RFP proposed a $1.46 billion contract for design and development phases. The engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase would build 29 prototypes over four years from 2014 through 2017 for $388 million. Low-rate initial production (LRIP) would be from 2018 to 2020 at $1.08 billion for 289 production models. After 2020, the Army planned to buy another 2,618 vehicles over ten years for a total of 2,907 AMPVs. Cost per vehicle is not to exceed $1.8 million, totalling $4.7 billion for the entire fleet. As with the revised GCV program, one development contract will be awarded to one company.
On 1 October 2013, the Army released a new draft RFP, delaying the start of the program by one year and raising the development costs by several hundred million dollars. The new document said the Army plans to award a five-year EMD contract in May 2014 to one contractor, which will manufacture 29 vehicles for government testing, followed by a three-year LRIP contract starting in 2020. The EMD phase was extended from FY 2015 to FY 2019, and raised the cost to build 29 prototypes to $458 million. Expenditures for three years of LRIP for 289 vehicles were $244 million the first year, $479 million the second year, and $505 million the third year, totaling an increase to $1.2 billion for low-rate production. The AMPV will cost $1.68 billion before full-rate production begins, an increase from $1.46 billion previously. The new draft did not change the total amount of vehicles desired and does not include an average unit manufacturing cost. Congress approved $116 million for the program in the Army's FY 2014 budget.
The AMPV has a relatively long production schedule for a non-developmental vehicle of 13 years: 3 years for low-rate production and 10 years for full-rate production. The production plan was partly based on budgetary constraints, but also to be able to speed up production in the event of war or another contingency. 33 percent of an Armored Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) is made up of M113s, which are not used in combat operations because they are less mobile and poorly protected than other combat vehicles in an ABCT. Full-rate production should build just under 300 AMPV vehicles per year, but the ability is there to quickly increase production if an ABCT needed to deploy to combat. Letting industry build as fast as possible regularly only to stop it later is seen as irresponsible.
On 26 November 2013, the Army released the official AMPV EMD phase RFP. Despite sequestration budget cuts, the program is maintaining its previously stated goal of 2,907 vehicles at $1.8 million each built over 13 years. A 5-year EMD contract is to be awarded to one manufacturer in May 2014 to produce 29 vehicles for testing, which will be followed by a 3-year LRIP contract in 2020. Although the October draft RFP raised the cost of the EMD phase to $458 million, the official November RFP lowered it to $436 million. Annual expenditures for the EMD phase are $70 million in FY 2015, $174 million in FY 2016, $114 million in FY 2017, $64 million in FY 2018, and $14 million in FY 2019. The RFP also contains an Optional Exchange Vehicle (OEV) program to exchange up to 78 vehicles during the EMD phase for AMPVs. 39 Bradley vehicles of versions previous to the current M2A3/M3A3 configurations and 39 M113s not including the M113 AMEV can be exchanged by the government to the contractor for credit. The EMD contract is scheduled to be awarded in the first quarter of FY 2015.
There are to be five versions of the AMPV:
- General Purpose (GP): Replaces M113A3 APC. Requirements are for 2 crew and 6 troops, be configured to carry one litter, and mount a crew served weapon. Tasks include conducting logistics package escort, emergency resupply, casualty evacuation, and security for medical evacuation. 522 planned.
- Medical Evacuation Vehicles (MEV): Replaces M113 AMEV. Requirements are for 3 crew and able to have either 6 ambulatory patients, 4 litter patients, or 3 ambulatory patients and 2 litter patients. It must also have medical equipment sets and environmental cooling. Tasks include conducting medical evacuation from the point of injury to an aid station and medical resupply replenishment. 790 planned.
- Medical Treatment Vehicle (MTV): Replaces M577A3 Medical Vehicle. Requirements are for 4 crew and one litter patient, as well as medical equipment sets and environmental cooling. Tasks include serving as the forward aid station, main aid station, and the battalion aid station. 216 planned.
- Mortar Carrier Vehicle (MCV): Replaces M1064A3 Mortar Carrier. Requirements are for 2 crew and 2 mortar crew, with a 120 mm mortar and 69 mortar shells. The task is to provide indirect mortar fire. 386 planned.
- Mission Command (MCmd): Replaces M1068A3 Command Post Carrier. Requirements are for 2 crew, 2 operators, and a mount for a crew served weapon. The task is to serve as a command post. 993 planned.
- BAE Systems Turretless Bradley - BAE is offering a turretless version of their Bradley Fighting Vehicle.
- General Dynamics Tracked Stryker - General Dynamics is offering a tracked version of their Stryker APC.
- Navistar Defense Maxxpro - Navistar is considering offering a modified version their wheeled MaxxPro MRAP.
- Army Mulls $1.7 Billion Effort To Replace 3,000 M113s - Defense.AOL.com, May 29, 2012
- US Army Looks To Delay, Increase Cost of AMPV Program - Defensenews.com, 2 October 2013
- Army 2015 Budget Kills GCV, Cuts Readiness - DoDBuzz.com, 4 March 2014
- FY15 Army budget, request includes small pay raise, 490K end strength - Army.mil, 4 March 2014
- Army Mulls Trading New Vehicles for Upgrades to Old Ones - DoDBuzz.com, 31 October 2013
- Abrams Dieselization Project: Doing the Math - Defensemedianetwork.com, 7 November 2013
- Army Issues RFP For $6 Billion M113 Replacement - Defense.AOL.com, March 22, 2013
- Army envisions AMPV production spike for emergency contingencies - Janes.com, 22 October 2013
- Army releases RFP for new armored vehicle - Armytimes.com, 26 November 2013
- Army Releases Final RFP for Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) - Defensemedianetwork.com, 10 December 2013
- "GD's Tracked Stryker Aims To Knock BAE Out In Race to Replace M-113". Defense.AOL.com, 2 November 2012.
- Industry to Army: The Vehicles You Own Can Perform Future Missions - Nationaldefensemagazine.org, 24 October 2013