Heavy armor works well in heavy brigade combat teams, but it has no place in the light infantry formations of the IBCT of the future, said Lt. Col. Kevin Parker, branch chief of Light Systems in the MCoE's Mounted Requirements Division.
"I am not trying to refight Afghanistan and Iraq," Parker said. "With any high-speed avenue of approach, particularly a road, it's a very easy thing to target. ... If I am gonna drive down the road, I probably want to be in MRAPs because that is where [the] enemy can target me with IEDs."
The ULCV instead would be designed to travel 75 percent of the time across country and on rough trails.
"We are looking for freedom of maneuver for the IBCTs across country," Parker said. "It provides that commander with mobility options that currently he does not have."
Army officials continue to work with the Marine Corps to deliver the Humvee replacement, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. Leaders from both services were forced to pare down expectations for this truck as costs spiraled out of control as officials wanted to increase armor while lightening the overall weight.
Maneuver officials maintain that the ULCV is not competing against the JLTV. The ULCV is designed to fill a capability gap of being large enough to carry a nine-man squad but light enough -- at 4,500 pounds -- to be sling-loaded by a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter.
"Dismounted infantry move by UH-60 because that is the vehicle that the tactical commander can get his hands on, so you want to make sure that the vehicle that is supporting that dismounted infantry can also be moved around by that platform," Parker said.
The only way to achieve this weight and meet the capability is to trade armor protection for speed and mobility, Parker said.
Here's the full Sources Sought notice
PURPOSE OF INFORMATION. This information will examine the benefit of an Ultra Light Combat Vehicle (ULCV) to support mobility for Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) Soldiers. The information received will be used by the Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE) to screen potential Commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions, which may be demonstrated during a static display and proof of principal event. The ULCV does not currently have an approved requirement. The information solicitation and subsequent vendor demonstration and product display are conducted for the sole purpose of demonstrating product capabilities. The information is to be presented in a single quote mark quad chart quote mark (title up top; upper left quadrant is the quote mark capability name quote mark ; upper right is the quote mark capability description quote mark ; lower left is the quote mark operational description quote mark and quote mark battlefield interrelationships and dependencies quote mark ; lower right is quote mark Point of Contact quote mark ) and an attached White Paper (not to exceed 25 pages).
Below are the threshold ULCV general requirements providing enhanced mobility for IBCT Soldiers.
a. Payload. Vehicle must carry Infantry Squad (9 Soldiers) with equipment (3200 lbs).
b. Protection. Base level of protection is provided by high mobility to avoid enemy contact and Soldier Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) (since the vehicle supports dismounted Soldiers).
c. Survivability. The ULCV (at GVW) shall provide a crashworthy vehicle structure capable of maintaining structural integrity in a rollover; quantified as a crush resistant roof structure or rollover bars capable of supporting 100% of its own GVW after a dynamically applied impact load.
a) Provide mobility with 10% on primary roads, 10% on secondary roads, 75% cross-country and trails, and 5% in urban, rubble environment.
b) Perform in Terrain level III (ridges/summits)
c) Routinely tasked to hold position on cross-country and trail conditions.
e. Lethality. Provide threshold capability to host crew served weapons assigned to an IBCT Infantry squad. Objective is to incorporate a medium caliber weapon into squad operations.
a) Internally transportable by CH-47 (in combat configuration under High/Hot conditions).
b) Sling load transportable by UH-60 (in combat configuration under High/Hot conditions).
c) Air drop from C130 on 463L pallet (in combat configuration).
d) Air drop from C17 dual row 463L pallet (in combat configuration).
g. Sustainability. Maintain high operational readiness rates through rugged construction and modular component replacement under field conditions.
h. Protection. Vehicle will provide FMVSS compliant restraints to Soldiers riding inside the vehicle and storage capability for individual equipment and squad equipment.
i. Range. 250-300 mile range on internal fuel.
j. No add-on communication equipment requirement.