Great moves in front of light tanks, Bradley replacement and robot vehicles

The Army’s ground combat forces will see three new vehicles arrive in 2024.

The service announced in mid-2023 that it named the Mobile Protected Firepower Vehicle M10 Booker, in honor of two brave soldiers who served in different eras.

Booker’s namesakes are both Staff Sgt. Devon A. Booker, a tanker who died while serving in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and Pvt. Robert D. Booker, an infantryman who died while serving in Tunisia in 1943 during World War II.

The light tank is “an armored vehicle intended to support infantry brigade combat teams by suppressing and destroying fortifications, gun systems, trenches and, secondarily, providing protection against enemy armored vehicles,” Lt. Gen. Glenn Dean, senior program officer for land systems battle, he told Defense News.

The first vehicles were delivered to the military in November to undergo testing for a planned deployment to the force in 2024.

General Dynamic Land Systems has been contracted to deliver 26 vehicles initially, but the Army may purchase up to 70 additional Bookers during the initial production phase, Defense News reported.

Industry competitors are building prototypes of the XM30 Mechanized Infantry Fighting Vehicle. The XM30 is the Army’s replacement for the Bradley, a legacy platform that has been in service since the early 1980s.

American Rheinmetall Vehicles and General Dynamics Land Systems were selected in 2023 from a total of five bidders to continue the program. They are scheduled to deliver prototypes in late 2024.

Current plans call for the Army to select a winner by fiscal year 2027, and the Army’s commissioning to begin in fiscal year 2029.

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A new light tank and combat vehicle will help ground forces add firepower and improve troop mobility. But to deal with a host of new threats on a more complex future battlefield, the Army is also looking to robotic vehicles to serve as “wings” for existing vehicle crews.

McQ, Textron Systems, General Dynamics Land Systems and Oshkosh Defense were selected in September by the Army to build Robotic Combat Vehicle-Light prototypes by August 2024 for the Army to review, Defense News reported.

The RCV-L will serve as a scout or escort for manned vehicles.

The agency plans to select one of the four companies in FY25 to proceed to the second phase. This phase will require the company to deliver nine prototypes to the Army by FY 26 and field the robotic vehicle by FY 28.

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government, and the military for multiple publications since 2004, and was named a 2014 Pulitzer Prize finalist for a co-authored work on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine from the Iraq War.

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