US Army may accelerate light and heavy tank upgrades

The House Armed Services Committee released its draft of the 2018 defense policy bill, which asks the US Army to accelerate its air-deployable Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) vehicle. The committee believes the Army is developing strategies to potentially accelerate the MPF schedule given that the current projected schedule has MPF fielding beginning in 2024. The committee directs the Secretary of the Army to provide a briefing to the House Committee on Armed Services by October 5, 2017, that outlines potential opportunities for MPF program acceleration. The briefing should include a review of testing requirements and potential areas for consolidation; funding required in fiscal year 2018 and beyond to accelerate the program; and any areas of legislative relief that would be required in order to accelerate the program.

They also requests the army to modernize its heavy armored forces across the board, including “the development of a next generation infantry fighting vehicle and main battle tank” to replace the M2 Bradley and M1 Abrams respectively.

The report would also encompass other elements of the Armored Brigade Combat Team such as

* the new Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV), essentially a turretless utility variant of the Bradley;
* the M109A7 Paladin howitzer, which puts an old cannon on a new automotive system;
* the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) to replace the Humvee;
* the M88 Hercules Improved Recovery Vehicles, a hybrid between tank and tow truck that can pull a broken-down M1 Abrams.