The Ground Combat Infantry Fighting Vehicle is an infantry fighting vehicle being developed for the U.S. Army. The program originated as the lead vehicle of the U.S. Army's Ground Combat Vehicle program coordinated by TACOM and spawned a parallel program coordinated by DARPA. The purpose of the program is to replace existing armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles in U.S. Army service. The DARPA project aims to have the vehicle designed by 2015. Derivatives of the vehicle based on a common chassis—such as tanks and ambulances—are expected to be manufactured. It replaces the previous attempt at a next-generation infantry transport, the XM1206 Infantry Carrier Vehicle.
The Army emphasizes affordability, rapid deployment and low risk technology for the GCV. The army requires that all aspects of the Ground Combat Vehicle be at technology readiness level 6. The shortfalls of rapid deployment would be mitigated through an incremental addition of components as technology matures. The Army provides details from the Manned Ground Vehicle effort to utilize on the GCV. The GCV is required to have better protection than any vehicle in the military's inventory.
General Peter W. Chiarelli has said that the "four main fundamentals" of the vehicle are: The ability to carry 12 soldiers, operate in all forms of combat, have significant protection and deliver the first production vehicle by 2018.
The Mounted Soldier System (MSS) is being developed for GCV crew members. MSS works as a force multiplier enhancing situation awareness, comfort, and safety. Dismounted leaders will utilize the Ground Soldier Systems.
The army would like the vehicle to feature a commander’s weapons station, autocannon, coaxial weapon, and an anti-tank guided missile system. The weapons suite must be manually operable when damaged and the commander's weapon station must incorporate a shield. Additionally, a dismountable anti-armor weapon will be carried on board. The Army also stated that the weapon suite will emphasis modularity, be able to defeat other IFVs and provide non-lethal capability to enable use in civilian environments.
In May 2012, the Army's Project Manager for Maneuver Ammunition System (PM MAS) began to emphasize the need for munitions suppliers to begin readying for GCV IFV ammunition needs. Solutions ranged from 25 mm to 50 mm, but 30x173mm was identified as "the most likely" design to meet lethality and stowed kill requirements. Specific requirements were for airburst capability to defeat infantry targets (with high explosive incendiary recognized as a “less effective alternative”), armor-piercing rounds to defeat material threats, and training ammunition for each tactical round. Potential candidates included five U.S. produced and three foreign-made rounds. On 7 August 2013, sources sought announcement for a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement for 30x173 mm ammunition: 2,700 rounds of Mk 238 Mod 1 High Explosive Incendiary-Tracer (HEI-T), 2,000 rounds of Mk 258 Armor Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot-Tracer (APFSDS-T), 2,000 rounds of Mk 268 Armor Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot-Tracer (APFSDS-T), and 2,000 rounds of Mk 317 Target Practice Discarding Sabot-Tracer (TPDS-T). The announcement calls for the cartridges to be compatible with the Bushmaster III weapon system, such as XM813 and/or Mk 44 Mod 1. All interested participants must provide the ammo quantities and associated information before the end of March 2015.
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