The military wants a light tank for infantry brigades that can take out bunkers and defeat enemy armored vehicles. On Tuesday, it awarded General Dynamics Land Systems a $1.14 billion contract for the defense giant’s Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) program — the Army’s first new design vehicle in more than four decades.
The contract win was not exactly a surprise. The only other competitor, BAE Systems, was eliminated earlier this year.
“MPF will give infantry brigades greater survivability, the ability to identify threat systems earlier and at greater distances, and will not restrict movement on off-road terrain,” army officials said in a statement. “MPF also allows soldiers to move faster and protect the attacking force.”
Under the contract, General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) will be required to produce up to 96 MPF vehicles. It is part of the Army’s “Next Generation Combat Vehicle” program to find replacements for the M-2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle and the M-113 Armored Personnel Carrier.
The first unit should be equipped with the light tank by the end of 2025, army officials said.