An advanced concept of lightweight, highly mobile, protected firepower infantry vehicle – developed by Ricardo Defense Systems – has shown significant promise in simulations carried out by US Army soldiers at Fort Bragg.
The U.S. Army has identified a critical shortfall in the Infantry Brigade Combat Team’s ability to rapidly deploy substantial firepower in restrictive areas such as cities, mountains, deserts and the jungle. The Army’s infantry needs a robust, mobile protected firepower capability that exceeds that of potential enemies’ bunkers and fighting vehicles. The Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) vehicle has been conceived as an innovation that will fill this vital capability gap in U.S. Light Infantry, Airborne, and Air Assault formations.
To help the Army design and procure the vehicles quickly, the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research and Development Command (TARDEC) awarded a contract to Ricardo Defense Systems to develop one of three competing designs for this future fighting vehicle. After a just 90 days development, US Army soldiers at TARDEC’s Soldier Innovation Workshops ran simulation exercises to evaluate the MPF vehicles in a range of scenarios. The Ricardo MPF concept vehicle is small and light enough to provide excellent air mobility; a single vehicle can be slung beneath a CH-47 helicopter, while two can be carried in the hold of a C-130. The results of the simulation tests were also very positive, with soldiers commenting on the vehicle’s impressive mobility in a range of very challenging scenarios.
“I believe that Ricardo was selected as lead contractor for one of the three competing Mobile Protected Firepower vehicle designs due to our extensive experience in the successful design, engineering and development of both commercial and military vehicle platforms,” commented Ricardo Defense Systems president, Chet Gryczan. “The results of the simulation based scenario testing of the Ricardo MPF vehicle were extremely encouraging, and it was fantastic to receive such positive feedback from the soldiers who tested the concept at Fort Bragg. I am proud that the team at Ricardo Defense Systems has been able to make such an important contribution to consideration of candidate designs for this important future light combat vehicle.”
The U.S. Army currently intends to buy three battalions worth of Mobile Protected Firepower vehicles for active service. With each battalion will likely to require 40 vehicles, the total initial production requirement is expected to be for a fleet of 120 vehicles. Ricardo Defense Systems is well placed to carry out work of this nature having previously designed and built several highly successful protected, tracked and amphibious prototype vehicles both for the Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Command (TARDEC) and for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).
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