BAE Systems is teaming up with Elbit Systems of America to develop combat vehicle technology, according to an Oct. 21 BAE statement.

“The arrangement is focused on validating and integrating new technologies on combat vehicle systems to deliver advanced warfighting capabilities,” the statement reads.

On the eve of the start of the Army’s second attempt to hold a competition to replace its Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle with an Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV), the announcement could signal BAE’s plans to take a shot in the new effort.

BAE Systems — Bradley’s manufacturer — opted out of the previous OMFV competitive effort because the company felt the requirements and timeline to design, develop and field a new vehicle wasn’t realistic.

And the Army ended up withdrawing its first solicitation in that competition because just one competitor was able to deliver a physical bid sample within the required timeline.

BAE has been quiet about whether it plans to invest its time and money into the new OMFV competition, but a partnership with Elbit, which is a leader in advanced turret solutions, could be a sign that it will participate this time around.

“The teaming arrangement will explore crew automation, vehicle protection systems and other defensive and offensive systems for integration into turrets of various cannon calibers and supporting weapon systems for combat vehicles,” according to the statement.

“BAE Systems and Elbit America are investing in transformational combat vehicle technologies and turret solutions that will greatly enhance the lethality and survivability of next-generation combat vehicles for the U.S. and international militaries,” Jim Miller, director of business development at BAE Systems, said. “Our relationship demonstrates a commitment to provide our customers with solutions for future battlefields based on our collective combat vehicle expertise.”

The day before the announcement, Rheinmetall put out a statement saying it was teaming with Textron Systems to pitch its Lynx41 vehicle for the OMFV competition.

Rheinmetall made an unsuccessful attempt last year to enter the OMFV competition with Raytheon as a US-based partner, but said it was unable to get its single Lynx vehicle in existence to the United States by the Army’s due date to deliver a physical bid sample.

General Dynamics Land Systems is also expected to compete in the OMFV competition. It was the only company to deliver physical bid sample in the last go-around. The Army is not requiring a bid sample in the new OMFV competition.

The Army put out a draft solicitation in July and plans to release its request for proposals to industry in December.

The service plans to request whitepapers and then choose five prime contractor teams to design rough digital prototypes. The service will then award up to three contracts for a detailed design and prototype phase that will include options for low-rate initial production. One vendor will be selected to go into production.

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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