US Army cuts vehicle fleet to make room for new systems

The US Army has made known plans to end 93 programs and cut back another 93 in order to facilitate next-generation technology under ambitious and rapid modernization plans, and the first thing slated for deletion in the next five years are vehicles in the current fleet.

According to fiscal 2020 budget request, the service plans to cut back on upgrade plans for its Bradley Fighting Vehicle program.

The U.S. Army’s budget request holds steady with last year’s top line, but is geared toward a “modernization renaissance” the service has begun following the establishment of a new four-star command dedicated to building a modern force by 2028.

But the Army is also planning to cut systems that are not really old, as well — the Armored Multipurpose Vehicle (AMPV) built by BAE Systems and the Oshkosh-manufactured Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) — that recently replaced legacy systems.

The service has not reached a full-rate production decision for the JLTV. That was pushed back from December 2018 to May 2019 due to new plans to alter the vehicles — to include larger windows and the addition of a muffler — based on soldier feedback.

And the first prototype for AMPV — the M113 personnel carrier replacement — rolled off the line in 2016.

The budget documents lay out the Army’s FY20 plans to cut Bradley A4 upgrade plans from 167 vehicles to 128.

The plan is to procure five more sets of Bradley A4 vehicles with one going to pre-positioned stock in Europe and the other four replacing the oldest sets of Bradleys. Then the program will stop around 2023 to make way for the Next-Generation Combat Vehicle, or NGCV, according to Lt. Gen. James Pasquarette, the Army’s G-8 chief.

Although the Bradley will be curtailed, Pasquarette noted that its funding in FY20 was up 37 percent from last year at $639 million.

While the Army — as of last year — planned to buy 3,035 JLTVs, it now plans to purchase just 2,530 of the vehicles in FY20.