To the shock of many, particularly in Australia, the US Army has disqualified the joint Raytheon and Rheinmetall bid following the two companies joining forces in 2018 to offer Lynx for the Army’s Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) program to replace the M2 Bradley IFV family.
Lynx is a next-generation, tracked armoured fighting vehicle designed to address the critical challenges of the future battlefield. Lynx provides ample growth capacity to support new technologies over the vehicle’s lifetime, and features lower life cycle costs.
It is believed that the biggest issue for the US Army and the joint Raytheon and Rheinmetall team was the proposed delivery date of 1 October – with transport and certification issues within Germany.
Following the announcement that the Lynx would be offered, Ben Hudson, global head of Rheinmetall’s vehicle systems division, said, "Lynx will be built in America by American workers. By choosing Lynx, the Army has an extraordinary opportunity to provide US troops with a fighting vehicle that will enable them to outmatch the threat for decades to come."
The disqualification of the Raytheon and Rheinmetall team means that General Dynamics Land Systems’ offering is the only vehicle remaining in the competition. GDLS has not yet detailed its offering for OMFV but said it was "purpose built" for the US Army.
According to sources, no other company submitted – Hanwha, one of the competitors of the $10-15 billion LAND 400 Phase 3 program, was interested in competing but chose not to participate with its AS-21 Redback variant – the same offered to the Australian Army.
Scheduled for fielding in 2026, the OMFV is expected to replace the Bradley fighting vehicle. The new vehicle will be optimised for urban combat and rural terrain.
The US Army has named the OMFV as a top modernisation priority supported under the service’s Futures Command structure.
The Lynx offered to the US Army shared a range of commonalities with the variant offered to the Australian Army as part of its multibillion-dollar LAND 400 Phase 3 program – providing a range of industry collaboration and supply chain opportunities for Australian industry.
Australia's LAND 400 Phase 3 program will replace the M113 armoured personnel carriers, providing the Army with an advanced, world-class IFV capability.
Both options will provide the Australian Army with a range of capabilities, including:
- Hanwha Defense Systems AS21 Redback: The AS21 will include the capability to integrate active protection systems into an evolved turret system. The Redback will be capable of hosting a crew of 11 (three crew, eight troops), a top road speed of 70km/h, cross country speed of 40km/h, an operational range of 500 kilometres, with an armament consisting of a 40mm autocannon and a single 7.62mm coaxial machine gun.
- Rheinmetall Lynx KF-41: The Lynx KF41 will include the capability to support a crew of 12 (three crew, up to nine troops), have a max road speed of 70km/h, a road range of more than 500 kilometres, with an armament consisting of the Lance 2.0 30-35mm autocannon, a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun and a variety of additional close-in weapons systems.
The risk mitigation activity will commence later this year. Following its completion, Defence will undertake a final detailed evaluation of the shortlisted tenders.
A decision on the preferred tenderer to supply the Phase 3 capability will be presented to government for consideration in 2022.