WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army has picked five companies to come up with designs to integrate a new weapon system on the Stryker combat vehicle, according to a May 23 announcement.

The service awarded design integration study contracts — no more than $150,000 each — for the Stryker Medium Caliber Weapons System (MCWS) lethality program to General Dynamics Land Systems, Kollsman Inc., Leonardo DRS, Raytheon and Pratt & Miller Engineering and Fabrication Inc.

Defense News first reported earlier this month that the Army had decided, after upgunning some of its Stryker vehicles with a 30mm cannon, that it would proceed to outfit at least three of its six brigades of Double V-Hull A1 Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicles with the more powerful guns and would hold a competition to acquire that weapon system.

The companies have to come up with integration designs using a government-furnished XM813 gun on a government furnished Stryker DVH A1 hull.

The MCWS program will be carried out in two phases that will culminate in equipping a Stryker DVH A1 brigade in fiscal year 2022, according to the Army.

As part of the design study, competitors will build a production-representative vehicle, the statement notes.

The second phase will be a full-and-open competition to award a production contract. Draft requests for proposals will be released to industry beginning in the fall of 2019.

Entries into the second phase should include a production-representative bid sample, the Army states.

The two phases, as well as fielding, are expected to take 39 months total — a short timeline.

While the Army plans to initially procure three brigade sets of the Stryker MCWS DVH A1 — a total of 83 vehicles per brigade — the service could procure systems for additional brigades at future decision points, according to the statement.

The decision to outfit Strykers with a 30mm cannon was based on lessons learned during the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Europe’s evaluation of the Stryker Infantry Combat Vehicle Dragoon, built rapidly to fill an urgent operational need in that theater.

The Army received $300 million to develop and field a Stryker with a 30mm cannon — supplying eight prototypes to the Germany-based regiment. The funding also covered upgrades to 83 production vehicles plus spares.

The service spent 18 months to put together its Stryker Dragoon using off-the-shelf solutions such as the remote turret from Kongsberg in Norway and the 30mm cannon from Orbital ATK, now owned by Northrop Grumman.

The vehicles were shipped off to Europe for a year-long evaluation.

Feedback from the evaluation suggested some improvements are needed, particularly related to situational awareness. The turret for the cannon takes up a lot of roof and hatch space and also affects how equipment is stowed, for instance.