HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — BAE Systems showed off a universal top plate that allows the Army’s Armored Multipurpose Vehicle to easily swap turrets for different mission roles.

The company brought an AMPV complete with a 30mm unmanned turret from Elbit Systems to the Association of the U.S. Army’s Global Force Symposium being held this week in Huntsville, Alabama, to demonstrate the capability.

BAE took the original top off the AMPV and put on its own internally funded and developed top plate to create the External Mission Equipment Package, or ExMEP. The design is based off of a study of turrets “of all kinds, all over the world,” Megan Mitchell, BAE’s business development director for Army combat systems, said in an interview at the event.

The ExMEP “enables [the AMPV] to be able to accept over 30 different sized turrets,” she added. “The idea behind this is it allows the Army to basically widen their scope of what they’re able to do with the AMPV.”

The Army’s AMPV, designed to replace the M113 armored personnel carrier and which reached full-rate production in 2023, comes in five variants either being fielded or planned: General purpose; medical evacuation; medical treatment; mission command; and mortar carrier.

“We’re now in full-rate production with the first five variants and that allows us a little bit more latitude to be able to see what it can do next,” Mitchell said. “This is an extremely versatile platform and it’s already doing five very different mission roles, and to be able to expand that capability ... there’s a lot more M113s out there than just what the five variants can do.

“What we really wanted to look at is where is the Army’s need and what could we possibly create that will allow us to work with the Army, to say, ‘Oh, if you need a counter-UAS, we can integrate that. If you need this kind of turret, we can integrate that,’” she said.

The company last year demonstrated it could rapidly integrate a Moog-developed counter-unmanned aircraft system turret onto the AMPV and successfully tested the capability in a live-fire event in Arizona. BAE said it hit both ground and air targets in the November 2023 test just 15 months after beginning the ExMEP development effort.

In cooperation with the Army, where both BAE and the Army funded a portion of the effort, the company integrated Patria’s 120mm unmanned turreted mortar capability using its ExMEP, Mitchell said. BAE turned over the vehicle to the Army in January for testing that will take place at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona in the spring and summer. More testing will continue into the fall.

A flexible top plate enabling integration of a wide array of turrets is not just targeted toward the U.S. Army, Mitchell noted, but creates options for potential foreign customers who might have specific requirements that go beyond the U.S. Army’s AMPV variants.

Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.

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