The U.S. Army has awarded Sterling Heights defense contractor BAE Systems contract modifications worth up to $269 million for continued production of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV), and $148.3 million to upgrade 43 M88A1 heavy-lift vehicles that evacuate damaged or stranded combat vehicles from the battlefield.
The BFV contract is for an additional 168 upgraded Bradley A4 infantry fighting vehicles, which is part of the Army’s combat vehicle modernization strategy and helps ensure force readiness of the Armored Brigade Combat Teams (ABCT).
The heavy-lift vehicle contract continues the upgrade of the M88A1 to the M88A2 Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift System (HERCULES) configuration to increase power, maneuverability, and survivability. It is in addition to the $318 million contract announced last month to supply the upgraded M88A3, single-vehicle tank recovery vehicle.
The Bradley A4 is equipped with an enhanced powertrain that maximizes mobility and increases engine horsepower, providing rapid movement in reaction to combat or other adverse situations. Wide-angle driver’s vision enhancer and improved Force XXI battle command bridge and below software integration improves friendly and enemy vehicle identification, enhancing situational awareness. The addition of a high-speed slip ring, greater network connectivity and Smart Displays that simultaneously display classified and unclassified information also improve situational awareness.
“The Bradley is one of the most critical vehicles in the Army’s ABCT today because it allows the Army to transport troops to the fight and provide covering fire to suppress enemy vehicles and troops,” says Scott Davis, vice president of combat vehicle programs for BAE Systems. “Upgrading to the A4 configuration provides soldiers with more power to increase their speed and ability to integrate enhanced technology to ensure they maintain the advantage on the battlefield.”
Previously awarded funding for initial production of 164 Bradley A4 vehicles allowed BAE Systems to begin production. The award of this option brings the total production funding to $578 million. It includes upgrades and associated spares of two Bradley variants: the M2A4 Infantry Fighting Vehicle and the M7A4 Fire Support Team Vehicle.
Work on the program will take place at Red River Army Depot in Texarkana, Texas, and BAE Systems’ facilities in Aiken, S.C.; Anniston, Ala.; Minneapolis, Minn.; San Jose, Calif.; York, Pa.; and in Sterling Heights.
The more capable M88A2 heavy-lift rescue vehicle tows, hoists, and winches 70-ton tracked vehicles used by the ABCT. The M88A2 increases horsepower and upgrades armor protection including armored track skirts and applique armor panels. The M88A2 can maneuver more quickly and get a 70-ton stranded vehicle – and its crew – to safety. The execution of this contract will increase the total procured quantity of the M88A2 capability to 914.
“The HERCULES is an invaluable vehicle for the Army’s recovery missions,” says Dennis Hancock, director of Recovery Programs at BAE Systems. “We are proud to support the Army’s recovery needs and we will continue to work alongside the Army to provide upgraded solutions as their missions and requirements change.”
Work on the program will be performed at the BAE Systems’ facilities in York, Pa.; Aiken, S.C.; Anniston, Ala., and in Sterling Heights. Deliveries are to begin in February of 2021.