BAE anticipates next 'option year proposal' for AMPV before end of year

By Dan Schere  / December 1, 2023

(Editor's Note: This story has been updated to clarify the timing of the AMPV contract award.)

BAE Systems expects the Army to award the next "option year proposal" for the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle before the end of the calendar year, a company official told Inside Defense this week. BAE would then work with the Army on an anticipated award for "mid-2024."

The Army awarded a $797 million contract for full-rate production of the AMPV, the replacement for the M113 armored personnel carrier, this summer. The contract is worth about $1.6 billion if all options are exercised.

Bill Sheehy, the AMPV program director for BAE, said in a Nov. 30 interview that BAE and the Army discussed creating a series of option years in the contract when full-rate contract negotiations started a year ago. By having the Army award each option year separately once the costs are understood, it will help minimize risk, Sheehy said. BAE anticipates the third option year will be awarded before the end of 2023. BAE anticipates the third option year proposal will occur before the end of 2023, and the award by the middle of next year, according to the company.

“It’s all part of the full-rate contract. It’s just that we’re going to negotiate them out separately so that we can make sure we’re getting the right cost,” he said.

The entire first AMPV brigade has been fielded, and BAE is in the process of fielding the second brigade, Sheehy said. The company is in low-rate initial production and will shift to full-rate production in 2024, he said.

The full-rate production contract is for five variants: General Purpose, Mortar Carrier, Mission Command, Medical Treatment and Medical Evacuation.

Separately from the contract, BAE has been developing a counter-drone AMPV prototype that features an external mission equipment top plate (ExMEP), which allows for the integration of other equipment, according to the company. The CUAS prototype, which was on display at this year’s Association of the United States Army conference, features a Reconfigurable Integrated-weapons Platform turret manufactured by Moog -- the same turret used in the Maneuver Short-Range Air Defense system.

In mid-November, about a month after the AUSA conference, BAE took the C-UAS system to the Big Sandy machine gun range in Kingman, AZ for a demonstration that involved shooting both stationary and moving targets.

The final engagement utilized a “slew-to-cue” capability to target stationary and moving drones with 30mm proximity rounds. This refers to rapid movement of the turret when the weapon system is tracking multiple targets, Sheehy explained. It enables the crew to move quickly from one target engagement to the next.

“So, it rapidly brings that gun aligned to where the weapon is. And then the gunner has to do the adjustments to put the target on,” he said.

BAE has been working on the C-UAS capability for the AMPV for more than a year, which Sheehy said is an entirely independent research and development effort funded by BAE, MOOG, DRS RADA Technologies and Northrop Grumman. The government has not directed or endorsed the capability, although Army representatives did observe last month’s demonstration in Arizona, he said.

The goal of the event in Arizona, Sheehy said, was to demonstrate to the Army “the lethality capability and integration of the vehicle with the gun system, in order for us to tangibly show the versatility of the vehicle.”

“We briefed a number of senior leaders [at AUSA], and they all they think that that top plate concept where they can go and do whatever capability they want, is incredibly valuable to them as they look at options moving forward,” he said.