The Army released a request for proposal for the Ground Combat Vehicle — marking an official start for defense contractors to begin competing for the right to build the service’s next combat vehicle.

Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli said the new vehicle will not be simply a rehash of the cancelled Future Combat Systems, but a relevant combat vehicle based on Army experiences in combat.

“This is a vehicle here that takes into account the lessons of eight years of war. It is not just FCS warmed over,” said Chiarelli, during a video teleconference, Feb. 25, with attendees at the Association of the United States Army’s Institute of Land Warfare Winter Symposium and Exposition in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The general said key performance parameters for the vehicle include, among other things, full-spectrum capability, net-readiness, and mobility. It should have the operational mobility of the Stryker and underbelly protection of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, or MRAP, according to the Brigade Combat Team Modernization Plan released Feb. 19.

Chiarelli said the Army is hoping for “three solid proposals” on the RFP — those proposals must be in by April 26. The Army will then award technology development contracts to bidders in September — marking milestone A in the GCV development process. Contract awardees will then enter the technology development phase that runs through December 2012.

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