Friday Eye Candy: BAE’s New GCV Bid

BAE Systems Ground Combat Vehicle

Here’s some (relatively) new eye candy from BAE Systems who posted the a bunch of renderings of its bid for the Army’s new Ground Combat Vehicle program on Flickr recently. The vehicle looks and sounds an awful lot like the trac that BAE offered in the last go-round to replace the M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle.

BAE’s vehicle features a hybrid drive designed to be 10 to 20-percent more fuel efficient than the current crop of armored vehicle engines and armor that will give troops inside the GCV more protection than an MRAP, claims the company.

Remember, BAE — along with rival General Dynamics — was awarded a contract last year to come up with a concept vehicle for a new GCV. The last effort to field the GCV was cancelled in 2010 after Army officials decided the RfP called for a vehicle that didn’t match the service’s needs.

The Army launched a revised competition to replace its Bradleys in November 2010, calling for an armored vehicle that can do everything from counterinsurgency ops to armored warfare.

Anyway, click through the jump to see more images of the vehicle. Sound off in the comments after checking it out.

BAE Systems Ground Combat Vehicle

BAE Systems Ground Combat Vehicle

BAE Systems Ground Combat Vehicle

BAE Systems Ground Combat Vehicle

BAE Systems Ground Combat Vehicle

BAE Systems Ground Combat Vehicle

BAE Systems Ground Combat Vehicle

BAE Systems Ground Combat Vehicle

  • Guest

    No TOW launcher? I thought that was one of the requirements.

    • Nick T

      I’d say A Hellfire launcher would be better. Probably on the A1 version when it comes. Experience is the best teacher after all.

  • Roland

    Just make more modern M1 Abrams with long range rockets and speed for future defense.

    • 19E10

      Abrams can’t carry infantry.

      • LanceCriminal

        They can if the infantry learn to ski, skateboard, or rollerblade

        • SJE

          The exhaust from an Abrams is so hot that you would need a very long ski rope.

      • blight_

        The Army FM has some notes on how to carry infantry desantiniki, but they have to be carried on the turret. Gas turbine engine too hot.

  • Tyler

    I worry about the height on this sucker. Low profile mean safety and keeping your head down is difficult with as tall as this looks to be.

  • 19E10

    Interesting that there’s only 1 hatch on the turret and 2 positions in front (is the gunner next to the driver ?).

  • STemplar

    This is one offering for a new system. I’ve lost count on how many existing platforms they are doing an AoA on for this same program. Then there is the concurrent program that hasn’t gotten quite the attention of the AMPV or M113 replacement program.
    http://www.defensenews.com/article/20120223/DEFRE

    For a service that supposedly got hit hard with cuts procurement sure doesn’t sound like it.

    • There seems to be only two contenders for the GCV

    • blight_

      They could always take the Bradley hulls and use them for whatever the M113 does: ambulance, M577 command vehicle…we already use a BFV derivative for the M270. It’s not un-kosher. They’re bigger, they’re steel instead of aluminum, there would be massive commonality gains and moneymoneymoney for United Defense. What’s to say no to?

      General Dynamics disagrees.

  • Black Owl

    This vehicle reminds me of a song that went like this:

    “I like big butts and I cannot lie…”

  • asdf

    such heavily armoured vehicle and they couldn’t even fit the 40mm CTA gun… (even if it has tow for anti-tank work, 3x the amount of HE from 30mm comes in handy)
    oh yeah, the tow launchers. i thought something was missing.

    any idea on the weight of the baseline/ uparmoured vehicle? 30/50t?

    • TMB

      According to the brochure, this thing will weight 70 tons. That’s as much as an M1A2.

      • blight_

        Jesus. That’s one per C-17.

        How much will future abrams weigh? 100? Do we need that Soviet heavy lifter aircraft to move ’em…?

  • Pat

    I don’t know what the price of this vehicle is, but if its gonna be a lot I think the Bradley’s are more than good enough.

    • Anonymous

      Regardless of price, why do the Bradleys need to be replaced? (I don’t know much about them)

      • Pat has a good point and Mr. Hall posted a viable approach (e.g. install hybrid engine, remove turret replace w/robotic weapons station)

        The downsides to the Bradley are they don’t carry enough Infantry (6 grunts vs. a 9 man squad), have been in constant battle for a decade needing a refit, some want a gun with a little more punch (debatable. It’s an Infantry Fighting Vehicle not a tank destroyer) and some feel it needs to defend better against IEDs (again debatable, IED proof doesn’t exist, you can always build bigger bombs).

        If we fix the grunt capacity and give them a facelift they have decades of life left but a key problem is America’s ridiculous belief that one can have a light, highly protected Infantry carrier on the cheap. Our casualty aversion is driving the train on making the GCV too big and expensive to fulfill its role.

        • Anthony

          This new vehicle must have survior abilitiy for the troops inside (i.e., incoming rocket anit-system like the Roland which can detect incoming missles/rockets. Also, I agree with the rest of the readers: it dose need to have the ability to detect IED’s and a blow back protection system to protect our troops from harms way. Not mounting a TOW like system on this vehicle is a big mistake. ‘What the commander of this vehicle in counter a armor threat or a low flying Copter armed with rockets. I think this company needs to rethink this on the drawing borad.

  • William C.

    Damn… makes the Bradley look like a work of art.

    How many sensors are they trying to shove onto this thing?

    • FormerDirtDart

      All of them

    • Looks like they have crammed so many systems & sensors they forgot space for the most important early warning, fire control, manuver control and command sensor we have. A well trained team of 19D Cav Scouts. Go ahead and make this thing, we will just have to recruit legions of techs and mechanics to keep it rolling.

  • Are you kidding me??!! Where do I start on this monstrosity? To high (WAY too high), too narrow, too short, huge overhand on the back. This has more systems on it than the Death Star.

    It looks like a Bradley (one of the most poorly conceived vehicles to ever see production and an absolute mediocrity in service) with about 40 “good ideas” tacked on. Does it even carry infantrymen? If so, how many? 5-6? Who is supposed to use all the sensors and optics?

    This is the best BAE can offer? A warmed up portion of leftovers from a meal that wasn’t very edible the first time around?

  • Belesari

    Seriously wtf. I forsee another bradley at best. We need what 5,000 of these well you’ll ony get 1,000. You need to seat 10men well you’ll only get 7 really friendly troops.

    Sigh. Why not just build a light tank for fire support infantry and just build a good APC for the infantry one that can carry 10 people with enough room to actucally do more than wiggle. Oh and it wouldnt need to be the size of a house.

    Is this still gonna mass as much as a heavy tank at 52 tons?

    Really……….

  • Lance

    Looks like a regurgitated M-3 Bradly. Prof this whole GCV is a waste of money and time a upgraded can make a Bradly same as this thing. The lack of sloped armor is a major safety concern over this and it has a broad flat belly making susceptible for mines. Total waste. Upgraded the M-2/3

  • Marcase

    Still early in the design, but looks better than version 1.0 ever did.

    Considering we have good camera’s and 3D glasses now, I was hoping that the driver and commander could be moved away from the front of the vehicle, or at least get rid of the usual vision blocks and hatches (read; potential weaknesses).

    Could’ve saved a few pounds or added additional armor or just to create a smoother vehicle if crew positions are more ’embedded’ in the vehicle, like driving it with an Xbox controller from the rear compartment.

    And still a lot of antennas – one (light) explosive and the vehicle might be blind, deaf and dumb.

    • jim

      some of those aren’t antennae they’re microphones

    • PMI

      Do you think there might be a slightly logical fallacy in suggesting it is a good idea to bury the crew in the interior without vision blocks while at the same time criticizing the potential for ‘blind, deaf & dumb’ due to over reliance on electronic sensors?

    • alessandro diaz

      And the cameras are not fully ruggedized – only one company manufactures fully MILSPEC camera systems and its not BAE.

  • Skyepapa

    It doesn’t look like the turret can provide 360 degree coverage; can’t the Bradley’s spin completely around, firing the whole time?

  • All-in-all, the GCV doesn’t appear to be all that bad. The only glaring shortcoming is the main gun only being a 25mm caliber; this is a virtual joke. Even on a vehicle of this size, a 25mm main cannon is grossley underpowered to offer sufficient protection. A Soviet BMP with its 73mm smoothbore cannon would have the GCV for lunch in a few seconds. Our designers need to go back to the drawing board with the GCV. Seriously, at 52 tons with only a 25mm cannon; the old M-60 tank at 48 tons sported a 105mm rifled cannon – now that’s a real armored threat!

    • 19E10

      Patrick, The low pressure cannon on the BMP-1 was apparently very unsatisfactory, or it would have been included on the 2 and 3 models.

    • Pat – Having fought against BMP1’s and operated them I can safely say you don’t know what you’re talking about. The BMP’s 73mm has less range, poor staibilization and inferior optics/sensors even compared to an M2 BASIC Bradley.

      BTW, an M60 is a TANK. Different mission.

    • Lance

      You can say to add more armor scrap the light armored Striker Gun System and put M-60A3s back into service but some dumb General who wants his pet project wont allow that.

  • tiger

    What is worg with buying more Strykers?

  • Alex

    For a force driving towards a more mobile and easier to rapidly relocate force, I see a major issue. The tonnage of this vehicle is problematic in the extreme.

    Am I the only one that see’s similarities with the XM-8?

    • Yep, agree weight is a deal killer for me also but I don’t think the Army has the moral courage to explain to America you can’t make light vehicles that protect against just about every threat out there.

  • TMB

    This thing will compete with the Abrams for heaviest track ever (currently advertised as 140,000 pounds), and the hybrid engine they’re so happy about will give it .73 miles per gallon. A Bradley needs to be refueled every 300 miles and an Abrams every 250. This GCV will have to be refueled every 186 miles. It can go 100 miles more on the same amount of fuel, but will have to refuel more often.

    • TMB

      I’m all for hybrid engine technology, but what good is a vehicle that may save maintenance and gas money over the long term, but needs to stop in the middle of a battle to refuel twice as often as its predecessor? Blight, I hope they find that weight savings magic wand, this thing needs it.

  • blight_

    With magical expensive weight reduction tech, it’ll probably be 35-40 tons. Without, closer to 50 tons.

    How ’bout we buy more heavy-weight airlift, because it seems like tanks will get heavier before they get lighter.

  • JEFF

    I really hope somebody else is putting in a GCV bid, this thing looks like crap.

    • moose

      General Dynamics is bidding, but they’re keeping their bid design out of the public eye thus far.

  • Paralus

    It’s so freaking tall ( in addition to a whole lotta ugly)! It looks like Bradley Part Deux.

    If they are admitting it is going to weight near 70 tons, why spend so much reinventing the Namer?

    General Dynamics already builds the Namer for Israel here in the states. Just buy the Namer and save yourself development costs.

  • DockScience

    Kinda looks like a big flat bottom on it.

    I thought this was supposed to be a V hull.

  • cs4

    Just buy the Israeli Merkava tank.

  • Hikerguy

    Not even born yet, and already has reached the “terrible toos” stage:
    Too tall, too heavy, too fuel hungry, too sophisticated, too expensive, too hard to produce quickly, too lightly armed (needs at least a 30 mm gun) and too flat bottomed.

  • DB-1

    This thing reminds me of the saying that ; if it looks good, then it is good, but if it looks bad, then it is bad. How about the pentagon take a very hard look at the new German IFV called the PUMA that is to replace there MARDER ICV and liscense build it here with an american engine and systems. because thats what we’re doing with the Marine Corps LAV-25 and the Army’s STRIKER which are based off the Swiss MOWAG family of wheeled armoured vehicles. I’m just saying, lets save some money and not reinvent the wheel.

  • Johnny Ranger

    Where are the ATGMs??? I would’ve figured we could easily & inexpensively integrate current generation Hellfires by now…

  • tchump

    I think this might be BAE’s subtle way of telling the DoD that the current requirements are stupid, and that no contractor is going to deliver anything worthwhile until the military un-asses its collective head and figures out a doctrine with vehicles that make sense.

    • KarlW

      I was going to ask the same thing. Are we talking about a battlefield between regular armies, with tanks and missiles, or about asymetric warfare in the Third World? Wouldn’t a lighter and faster wheeled vehicle do as well when the enemy has no more than RPGs?

  • J Hughes

    Its just their GCV from the cancelled FCS program. No real new design here. Clear Coke

  • d. kellogg

    What WON’T get damaged on this thing by a lot of even small arms fire and machine guns?
    Against auto cannon (20-40mm), forget it.
    Where DOESN’T this thing have a shot trap?
    Where did these people learn about ballistic shaping?
    Does no one ever study the successful AFV designs?
    Slab sides like the broad side of a barn, REALLY?

    General concensus has always been: the engineers and commitees who design these things are never the folks who actually have to go to war in them. Otherwise this thing wouldn’t look like some throwback to pre-WW2 days where bolted-together AFVs were often far too heavy and undergunned at the same time.

    And its designation will be what, exactly? The M9 WOFTAM?
    What unfortunate General gets the shame of having his/her name slapped on this thing?

  • I give it an F. Weight is a deal killer for me but I realize the Army does not have the moral courage to explain to America you can’t make vehicles of a reasonable weight that protect against just about every threat out there.

    If something doesn’t change drastically. We are going to have heavy BCTs that aren’t deployable.

  • Punisher1

    Eh looks like a load of fail to me.

    1. Poor defense / Offense in urban terrain, lack of machine guns. For crew or infantry. What no lessons learned from the last 2 conflicts … Duh

    2. Amphibious? yes or no, probably not

    3. Too F’n big = Easy target,

    3a. Logistical issues how can we fly it to X location and deploy it? One per C-5 lift … fail

    4. Poor field of fire for main gun.

    5. Needs more fire power how about missile racks for anti tank and anti aircraft? Up that main gun to something that can deal with Armor. 25mm bushmaster is great until you face real armor. How about a 70mm+ fast firing gun or a bump up tp 40mm at least?

    6. Who needs frontal armor? Naw, that’s not important.

    7. Tracks need to be wider for many reasons.

    8. Poor visibility for everyone.

    9. How about Drone support? vehicle based drone for scouting and security?

    10. No IED / Mine resistant lower hull? WTF again?

    11. Driving optics need to be higher and better protected.

    12. Driver positions seem too large and poorly protected

    13. If this is based on a 113 body I’m gunna f’n puke.

    • Sounds like you’re the same guy that wrote the FCS infantry carrier requirements.

      • Punisher1

        Keeping in mind, would I would put my life on the line and feel that it is combat effective and keep up with what the rest of the world is producing. So with that said it has to be superior in every way to what it may come up against. That means no limitations, no P.O.S. like the Bradley, better than the Stryker who had a serious design flaw against Mines / IEDs. I cannot believe we pay these people for their lack of vision when it comes to future designs.

        • Why is the Bradley a POS exactly? Seems to have a pretty good operationat history for coming on 40 years.

          No, you can’t put everything on a vehicle. Only works in the video games.

          Your list shows a basic lack of understanding of armored vehicle design, what tech is capable of and what’s overkill. E.G. Have you heard of video cameras?

  • William C.

    I’m wishing that Puma derived IFV was still in the competition.

    • asdf

      it is.

  • HughN

    Looks like a Dalek…

  • Tad

    Don’t the Germans and Israelis (and/or others) make good GCVs? If so, why not just manufacture those under license? Why reinvent the wheel?

  • passingby

    I like that pea shooter. So cute.

  • William C.

    I’ve got to ask why it has a 25mm M242 chain gun instead of the newer 30mm Mk.44 the Army wanted on the FCS vehicles. The Navy and Marine Corp are already fielding some.

    The 35mm Bushmaster III is another option, as is the 40mm CTA.

  • Guest

    They couldn’t make it uglier if they tried.

  • I wonder how many CV90 based vehicles we can get for the price of one of these? Actually I just want the twin tube AMOS version for our 11Cs.

  • I have a better idea. Take our existing Bradley hulls, strip them down, put in a hybrid electric powertrain. Then replace the existing turret with an unmanned overhead weapons mount with a 40mm CTA automatic cannon, a coaxial machine gun and an external four missile pod. This gets all of the ammunition outside of the fighting compartment and the vulnerable infantry inside. It will probably even make enough space inside to put a couple more infantrymen there. Put a couple of active anti-RPG/ATGM mounts on the hull and then add applique armor over all. It will save money, give us a much more capable vehicle that is also lighter and more mobile as well.

    • blight_

      With the hybrid drivetrain, you’re going to introduce a giant lithium battery pack to the interior of the vehicle. And I’m not sure how you propose to move all of the ammunition out of the hull, especially since the TOWs are manually reloaded by someone in the rear compartment using a hatch.

      If you wanted more personnel, I guess you could stretch the Bradley by another roadwheel…

      That said, many of the extant Bradleys already have applique/ERA packages on them. The upgrades you propose involve re-engining, introducing an additional potentially dangeorus lithium battery pack and a hypothetical RO turret, while assuming that putting the vehicle crew and the dismounts in the same interior compartment is better than the present arrangement.

      Cynically, a hit to the turret may kill the crew but allows the dismounts to escape. If this new Bradley isn’t hull down, a hit in the crew compartment kills everyone. And if the hull isn’t sufficiently well-armored, then an explosion in the turret may still kill everyone in the vehicle.

      It isn’t a bad idea to consider re-turreting and re-engining the Bradley if we want to test out new update ideas…but adding an extra road wheel might not be a bad idea either (just as we did with the MTVL version of the M113).

    • blight_

      The original Bradleys had FPWs, but they’re not as great as they sound at first glance. Firing through vision blocks isn’t perfect…but beats the enhanced SA of fighting from open-topped vehicles, especially since it interferes with the turret being able to traverse to the rear. Getting clipped by a 25mm barrel or having a Bushmaster go off near your head is likely unpleasant.

      Moving the crew from the turret to the hull won’t give you much net room savings for dismounts. Additionally, your Bradley turret reloads from within the hull by hand via a hatch, so you’ll still carry TOWs inside the hull.

    • blight_

      Post keeps disappearing. In short, Bradleys reload their TOW launchers from stores in the main compartment. Can’t have a remote turret with TOW unless you either keep TOWs in the passenger compartment or totally re-engineer some sort of auto-loader, which increases the cost of the turret by a lot. Also, by moving the crew into the passenger compartment, you eat into any potential additional dismount space. Additionally, the use of hybrid electric means you’re adding a lithium ion battery just feet away from the crew. Not safe?

      • The turret crew is actually in the passenger area already. An unmanned turret should be freeing up a lot of space. As for antitank capability, stowing four rounds in the launcher frees up more interior space. An M2 only carries four TOW rounds anyway (2 in launcher, 2 in a rack in the troops area).

        • blight_

          Then the only point of the original sub-reply is to suggest re-engining the Bradley and a re-turreting. Potentially promising, but it means starting another R&D project from which we have little previous experience and going from there.

          We have experience with small profile turrets on the RDF prototype. There might’ve been a couple of other remote turret prototypes; and perhaps MGS might count for this as well.

          That said, if we developed a four-pack TOW it would probably go on the next upgrade for the Bradley already?

  • Benjamin

    If they do go with a new vehicle I hope the engine can form the basis for a new engine on the M-1

  • doc61

    Leaving us room for 2 dismounts….

    • blight_

      It’ll be MBT, CFV, APC.

  • Roland

    We still have a lot of BAE we still need to bring home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Save the budget and use it on green energy like algae fuel farm, pond plant and processing centers. This will help us become self sufficient on foreign oil, help lower the deficit and help the economy in the process.

  • Mastro

    It looks like it has a weather station on it. I guess a balloon will be on the upgrade.

  • Rohan

    This is gonna be the best for Indian Army !!!

  • harley80802

    I’ll take two…

  • PolicyWonk

    Am I the only one that thinks this thing looks like a WWII Sherman (without the big gun – and the same much-hated high profile)? And I’m always worried when they try to stick one vehicle with so many missions. And feature creep is a sure thing given the inglorious history of our sad “procurement system”.

  • Paragon

    Some valid comments here. But commenting that it’s ugly – really? Who cares? Even if you have a shiny streamlined hull it’s going to look like a dog in the field when it’s covered with bar/applique armor. Plus it’s irrelevant.
    As for blast-resistance, we really can’t see from these pictures what the hull looks like underneath. Is it flat? It might incorporate shaping, or blast ducting, which also may account for the height of the vehicle (can’t really complain about both lack of V-hull AND excess height).

  • Kski

    Ugly, ugly, ugly. If your a commander you at least want to have your troops charge into battle on a war machine that is well suited to the requirments you want. That heavy piece of junk will be more of a nuisance than anything else. Why is it all the successful IFVs have always had the same capabilites, a auto cannon, a machine gun, a ATGM launcher, and carries a full 8 to 12 man squad. Don’t break whats neaver had to be fixed. Better alternative is to buy more Strykers and Bradleys. But don’t get me started on the scrapped EFV program for the Marines.

  • BigRick

    looks like the Army design team is learning from the Navy design team

    LCS=GCV=LCS=GCV

    -design massive vehicle
    -poorly armed
    -poorly protected
    -lots of fancy gatgets
    -very high tech and automation
    -poor gas mileage and range
    -doesn’t scare anybody
    -very very very expensive

  • 12bravo

    Lots of shot traps to magnify the effect of the RPG rounds it will surly face. Way too many vulnerabilities in the antennas/sensors, no room for troops (it is supposed to carry troops right?), no ATGM, very heavy, side armor looks like it was designed for an up-armor pack once in theater.

    This looks just about perfect for production!

    • Shot traps don’t apply to HEAT rounds which is how the RPG works.

      Do you want to armor the antenaes and sensors? Uh, I think not.

      How do you know how many troops fit on the inside? X-ray vision?

  • 12bravo

    Isn’t the IDF fielding an IFV based on the Merkava tank? Considering the Merkava already has troop transport ability.

  • crease

    looks weird….id take an abrams anyday

  • JRL

    Awesome! Looks almost as lethal, affordable and practical as the Imperial AT-AT walkers in Star Wars.

    It’s even nearly the same height…

  • Looks like those Antennas and sensors are going to get shot off, lol.