South Korean defense technology company Hanwha Defense has confirmed its participation in the US Army’s optionally manned fighting vehicle (OMFV) program, saying it will work with Oshkosh Defense in a bid to secure the contract.
Hanwha signed an exclusive teaming agreement with the Wisconsin-based military vehicle builder for the digital design phase of the US Army’s next-generation combat vehicle program.
The company will base its offer on the Redback prototype, which has already been down-selected in Australia’s LAND 400 Phase 3 armored vehicle modernization program. Hanwha has also been selected as the preferred supplier of a self-propelled howitzer for the Australian Army’s protected mobile fires program. Australia announced in September 2020 it would buy 30 K9 self-propelled howitzers and 15 armored ammunition resupply vehicles.
“Bringing together the heritage of two innovative, reliable, and successful land systems companies, gives me great confidence that Hanwha and Oshkosh, with our other consortium partners, will deliver the next generation Infantry Fighting Vehicle the American soldier clearly deserves,” said the head of Hanwha Defense’s US operations Bernard S. Champoux.
Oshkosh is also competing for the US Army’s cold weather all-terrain vehicle (CATV) program together with ST Engineering.
The OMFV program is a key element of the US Army’s Next Generation Combat Vehicle modernization effort that includes replacing the M-2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle which has seen service since the early 1980s. The program’s five phase acquisition plan will award the first contract in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021, with the first units receiving their OMFVs in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2028.
The other known contenders in the competition are Rheinmetall, who has teamed with L3Harris, Textron Systems and Raytheon Technologies, and the BAE Systems-General Dynamics duo, which will offer a vehicle based on the Next Gen Bradley.
The US Army wants its next generation IFV to be capable of maneuvering through the enemy’s disruption zone to deliver a decisive strike while manned or remote operated. The vehicle will be expected to be capable of defeating future near peer soldiers, infantry fighting vehicles, helicopters, small unmanned aerial systems and tanks.