Soldiers in the Middle East in particular face a significant threat on foreign highways and roads. The roadside IEDs account for a significant amount of casualties and injuries, with nearly 400 killed and injured in 2012 alone. The original plan for the Army’s next generation of vehicles was to go with lighter and more maneuverable – but the urban battlefields of the Middle East have proven that such a design is unfeasible. The Army’s response is the “GCV” – the temporary name given to the new Super-Heavy tank. Designed to replace the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the GCV weighs nearly twice as much and can house a nine-man crew. Tipping the scales at 84 tons, the GCV boasts the resilience and hard underbelly required to survive improvised explosive devices.
Compared to previous designs which can be hampered by politics and corporate in-fighting, the Army is hoping to open the design process and allow for a more collaborative effort. Certain aspects will be contracted out to specialists, but the Army will maintain control over the architecture and and synchronization. Previous designs have been the sole responsibility of the contractor – undesirable to say the least with failed multi-million dollar “next-gen” vehicles popping up all over the place. To cut costs of manufacture and allow for generalized parts, the GCV family of vehicles will be built around a common chassis.
While the weapons specifications are still classified or “open to interpretation” it is noteworthy to include that a certain model of the GCV possesses a non-lethal weapon requirement. The GCV seems to be a throwback to the old British Ultra Heavy tanks built during the world wars, though constructed with new intent and superior technology. It will be exciting to see how these vehicles perform in real-world scenarios.
For more detailed information concerning the GCV see: http://www.army-technology.com/projects/ground-combat-vehicle-gcv/