Bradley M2A5 / M3A5
In October 2018 the M2A5 variant of the Bradley was apparently canceled to make funding available for the Next Generation Combat Vehicle [NGCV] program.
The Bradley Program (MOD) procures hardware for mods from the Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) program approved by the Army Acquisition Executive (AAE) in July 2011. There are three ECPs in this program. ECP 1 improves vehicle suspension with improved shocks, road arms, torsion bars and extended life track. A4 improves the power train and electrical system to enable the Bradley Vehicle fleet to host inbound technologies from Army Program of Records (i.e. HMS, JBC-P). A5 improves the lethality and enables the current fleet to host inbound technologies from Army Programs of Record (i.e. 3GEN FLIR). Funds training device obsolescence mitigation; procures transmission safety upgrades; high priority improvements to ensure safe and effective operation of the vehicle at full combat weight.
Proposals put forward to US Army senior leaders for deeper Bradley vehicle (M2A5) upgrades included Option 1: a brand new, larger 39.7 ton hull and chassis (fitting 8 dismounts); and Option 2: New 30mm gun integrated on the M2A3 turret. A common criticism of the Bradley is its size, space and power are now extremely limited for new system upgrades such as electronic architecture or APS. New power generation and a bigger hull would effectively create a new vehicle with decades-long growth potential. The Bradley hull itself is not a major cost driver, as components like the transmission are actually more expensive. It makes more sense to size the hull to fit the systems, rather than the other way around.
The future A5 Bradley Fighting Vehicle variant might possibly armed with lasers, counter-drone missiles, active protection systems, vastly improved targeting sights and increased on-board power to accommodate next-generation weapons and technologies. Designed to be lighter weight, more mobile and much better protected, emerging Bradley A5 lethality upgrades are underway as part of a plan to build upon improvements with the A4.
By 2018 there was a growing parity in U.S. Army sights and sensors against current and emerging threats, particularly when it comes to combat vehicle platforms. The House Armed Services Committee was concerned that the Third Generation Forward- Looking Infrared (FLIR) development program was proceeding at too slow of a pace to ensure it will enter production as an integrated system in the next Abrams tank and Bradley Fighting Vehicle upgrades.
Therefore, the committee directed the Secretary of the Army to provide a briefing to the House Committee on Armed Services by March 15, 2019, on the Army's plans to synchronize the Third Generation FLIR program with the M1A2 SEP V4 Abrams Upgrade and M2A5 Bradley Fighting Vehicle upgrade. The briefing should also include potential courses of action for, and costs associated with, the acceleration of Third Generation FLIR development.
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