Big decisions for the Army’s Bradley Fighting Vehicle replacement are happening in 2022.

The armored, tracked troop carrier that’s been covering ground since 1981 is on its way out. And the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle is being designed by multiple companies, all expecting the Army’s design decision by early 2023, according to service officials.

But the OMFV is more than a better ride for troops. That’s kind of in the name, especially the “optionally manned” part.

The Army wants a vehicle that can be driven by soldiers or by a command vehicle at a distance that will also include on-board sensors and communications platforms to work in a network of ground combat vehicles.

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Army Times sister publication Defense News reported in 2021 that the service had chosen five teams to compete for the OMFV design. Point Blank Enterprises, Oshkosh Defense, BAE Systems, General Dynamics Land Systems and American Rheinmetall Vehicles all put together concepts for the OMFV.

That’s after a kind of false start when in 2019 only General Dynamics was able to deliver a physical example of the prototype vehicle.

The Army plans to spend up to $4.6 billion on developing the vehicle between 2022 and 2026. The Army is giving companies until 2025 to deliver prototypes, with vehicle testing scheduled the following year.

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

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