The U.S.Army has failed to bring an armoured combat vehicle from scratch to service once again:
|Probably what they hoped for - but not what the program yielded|
About the GCV: 2007-11 Ridiculous
"We know exactly what we want. We want a fast, highly mobile, fully armored, lightweight vehicle. It must be able to swim, cross any terrain, and climb 30 degree hills. It must be air-transportable. It must have a simple but powerful engine, requiring little or no maintenance. The operating range should be several hundred miles. We would also like it to be invisible."
General Bruce C. Clarke, 1960 (link)
The challenge is to be an adult and settle for what you can actually get in quantity.
They didn't succeed in this ever since they brought the Bradley/Abrams duo into service, and both those programs were riddled with poor decisions and performance during their development (and kept having major conceptual problems ever since*).
Only the U.S.Marine Corps bureaucracy is worse at procurement (their recently-cancelled EFV had a development history which began in 1973 and didn't produce a single in-service vehicle!)
This obvious bureaucratic inability to produce a desired and in the long term necessary output means that Europeans need to pick up the issue and succeed instead. And this surely doesn't mean the UK's MoD, which excels at gold-plating and turning even off-the shelf solutions into what's more expensive than all-new designs should be. A preliminary study for the UK MoD appears to be the equivalent of what used to be a completed Swedish development project.
The German industry focused recently on the Puma IFV, which may have delivered a fine base vehicle (but I'm not sure its armament or dismount strength are worthy of such an effort), but this too has been a rather slow and expensive affair. Italian vehicles appear to be of a relatively modest standard, French vehicle tend to be tailored to French ideas, Greek output is typically a modification of a foreign design and the Swedish AFV industry has been absorbed and infected by the UK's BAe.
So it's probably down to the Swiss (preferring wheeled vehicles), the Finnish (wheeled vehicles only) and maybe the Germans (one major project per decade).
The good news is that the Russians don't excel at this either.
Still, in the long term we should fix this procurement and industrial issue, which looks a lot like a institutional culture, red tape, staff technical competence, rulebook and politics issue to me.
The de facto cancellation may be considered news and this blog isn't really about news, but this list of related blog posts shows that this is really not news. It was predictable. The story is here is a persisting, hemisphere-spanning problem.
*: The Bradley issues are well-known. The M-1 issues are mostly about the wrong engine (turbine instead of diesel), the initially wrong gun (105 mm rifled instead of 120 mm smoothbore) and the political intervention in favour of the design which the army had considered inferior (Chrysler's). Chrysler was in trouble and the government wanted to bail it out through the Pentagon budget. A quick recap is here.