UPDATE — This story has been updated to include more details and a statement from Oshkosh defense.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army has chosen Oshkosh Defense to build its new Medium Caliber Weapon System — a 30mm, unmanned turreted auto-cannon — for the Stryker combat vehicle.
The first delivery order covers 91 vehicles valued at roughly $130 million. The Army could build up to six Stryker Brigades with the MCWS version so the potential contract value is roughly $942 million over six years, according to a June 3 Army announcement.
The first unit to receive the MCWS Strykers will be the I-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team out of Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington state. Fielding will be complete by December 2023 with that unit, Col. Bill Venable, the program manager for the Stryker Brigade Combat Team within the Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems, told reporters June 3.
Oshkosh beat out two other teams and while the Army would not name competitors, sources familiar with the process have told Defense News it was a General Dynamics Land Systems and Kongsberg Defense team and a Leonardo DRS and Moog team.
The Oshkosh team is comprised of Pratt Miller, which began the competition as a separate company, but in December 2020, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle-maker Oshkosh purchased the company for $115 million. Pratt Miller was teamed up with Rafael. The winning MCWS solution integrates Rafael’s SAMSON family of turrets onto the Stryker.
“The Oshkosh team brought together best-in-class capabilities for weapon system design, manufacturing, and integration to provide a highly capable solution that meets the Stryker MCWS program requirements today and offers the flexibility to upgrade tomorrow,” Pat Williams, the company’s vice president and general manager of U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps programs, said in a statement.
The Army decided to outfit three out of six of its brigades equipped with Double V-Hull A1 Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicles with 30mm guns — a total of 83 vehicles per brigade — following an Army Requirements Oversight Council review evaluating the performance of the 30mm Stryker Dragoon operated in Europe by the 2nd Cavalry Regiment. The Army chief of staff directed the Army to ensure the new MCWS capability be applied to the more mobile protected DVH ICVVA1 that will be the basis for the future Stryker fleet.
In May 2019, the service selected five companies to come up with designs, awarding each a study contract. Those companies were General Dynamics Land Systems, Kollsman Inc., Leonardo DRS, Raytheon and Pratt & Miller Engineering and Fabrication Inc. Following a protest, the Army awarded a sixth contract to EOS Defense Systems USA, Inc.
The companies had to come up with integration designs using a government-furnished XM813 gun on a government furnished Stryker DVH A1 hull. As part of the design study, competitors were required to build a production-representative vehicle.
The Army began its full-and-open competition to award a production contract and took three teams with production representative bid samples into government testing in August 2020 at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.
While the schedule experienced some delays due to the pandemic and also due to decisions aimed at preserving competition, “we did have a robust competition,” Venable said. “We had several fantastic solutions evaluated over the course of nearly a year now and what resulted was the best value award selection to a winning vendor.”
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 in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts from Kenyon College.