US Army seeks new light tank for quick deployment 

The Army will begin independent operational testing and evaluation of light tank prototypes developed by General Dynamics and BAE Systems in January 2021

A medium-weight, large-caliber prototype vehicle. Photo: General Dynamics

According to the Defense Blog website, based on a recent U.S. Army statement, the Army will begin independent operational testing and evaluation of two light tank prototypes developed by General Dynamics and BAE Systems under the Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) program in January 2021. The MPF program is the first under the Army Futures Command Cross-Functional Team for Next Generation Combat Vehicle that fills a critical capability gap.

Those prototypes are to be put through an exhausting series of lethality, survivability and mobility tests that will run through June 2021. Based on the results, one vendor will be chosen to begin producing the vehicles in fiscal 2022.

The light tank is expected to help infantry soldiers blast through obstacles, take out machine-gun nests and defend against other armored vehicles. It will be a tracked vehicle that is likely to have a 105 mm cannon and 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun for firepower. At least two of them would need to fit on a C-17 cargo aircraft, with each vehicle weighing less than 40 tons, much lighter than an M1 Abrams tank that can weigh 60 tons or more.