House authorizers seek clear vehicle active protection strategy

By Ashley Tressel / June 3, 2019 at 5:01 PM

Lawmakers are concerned the Army's plans to procure non-developmental active protection systems for its combat and tactical vehicles do not include a strategy to develop or buy training devices for those systems, according to a House panel.

The Army has chosen the Trophy APS for the Abrams tank and the Iron Fist APS for the Bradley fighting vehicle, both made by Israeli companies. The service is currently evaluating two non-developmental APSs on the Stryker: Rheinmetall's Active Defense System and a lighter version of Rafael's Trophy.

The House Armed Services tactical air and land forces subcommittee's draft portion of the fiscal year 2020 defense policy bill states lawmakers are encouraged by the successful integration of the Trophy on the Abrams but requests a report by Nov. 29 "on the requirements and acquisition strategy for both near-term and long-term [vehicle] APS efforts, including technology, schedule and funding profiles associated with development and acquisition of training devices."

"Everyone wants a capable active protection system for armored vehicles and tactical vehicles," a committee staff member told reporters in a briefing today. "The technology is there, arguably, for the tank but not necessarily for the lighter armored vehicles -- the infantry carriers, the Bradley, Stryker. The Army has been interested for a long time in [this], so the committee is just encouraging the Army to continue to work toward that."

Separately, the subcommittee is requesting quarterly updates on the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle program to replace the Bradley. The mark asks that the Army acquisition executive and chief of Army Futures Command include in these briefings any obligated funds for the program, an overview of the schedule, a description of each contract award made and the development and approval of technical requirements.

However, the subcommittee's mark does not restrict funding for the OMFV, as lawmakers did last year.

The subcommittee also wants a report by Feb. 3 on the Army's plan to develop and field the next version of its TOW 2B tactical missile system, which the service plans to use as the primary anti-armor weapon for the OMFV, according to the mark.

"It is not clear that the development and fielding schedule for the new TOW 2B missile is aligned with the schedule for OMFV," the mark states.