The Army’s new light tank can venture where its beefier cousins can’t

The Army’s new light tank can venture where its beefier cousins can’t

When it comes to crossing rivers and bridges, all modern warfare technology is still limited by the laws imposed by physics. The structure must be able support the vehicle on it. The Army is investing in a lighter tank to address this problem than its current battle tank, the M1 Abrams main combat tank. This new vehicle, which is still known by its descriptive moniker Mobile Protected Firepower, was promoted at the Association of the United States Army conference held in Washington, DC, from October 10-12.

The Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) vehicle weighs in at 38 tons, which is heavy by all standards, except it is light compared to the 70 tons of heft of an Abrams tank. It can travel places that the Abrams cannot, which expands the Army’s ability to fight war with vehicles. The MPF will also include fire control and situational awareness sensors that can be used to share enemy location data among vehicles in formation.

“Bridge classes being what they are, you immediately know whether that bridge can support a mobile protected firefighter vehicle’s weight. The Abrams tank requires a stronger bridge to cross than the MPF .”


The MPF is intended to be used with Infantry Brigade Combat Teams ,, which are primarily designed for walking. These formations, which consist of between 3,900 to 4,100 people, incorporate some vehicles, but are distinguished from Armored and Stryker Brigade Combat Teams, which use roughly heavy and medium-armored vehicles to transport soldiers and weapons around the battlefield.

“It is designed to assist dismounted units when they are unable to maneuver or accomplish their mission due to a threat greater than their weapons systems,” says Reese. “Because [the MPF’s] mobility, it can quickly move around the battlefield and can be very quick on call to [assist] an infantry element.”

” You don’t need to wait for higher coordination of an air asset. He adds that you don’t need to coordinate helicopters or other similar assets.

While Stryker and Armored brigades are equipped with heavy weaponry and Stryker brigades are equipped with heavy weaponry, infantry brigades are limited to gear that fits soldiers’ backs and can be mounted on vehicles that can carry infantry over rough terrain like urban rubble and soft soil. “Dismounts .”

” are the soldiers on the ground.

“If the dismounts are impeded by any type of [enemy] fortified or light-armored vehicle, or any kind [enemy] fortified bunker environment, then that would be a problem, but that’s a threat that the MPF vehicle can easily defeat,” says Kevin Vernagus who is the General Dynamics program director for MPF.

The Infantry Brigade Combat Teams can be deployed by plane, unlike heavier brigades. After disembarking from helicopters and transport planes, the formation can move into action.

” It must be able roll off and fight upon roll off,” states Vernagus. “We had to ensure it does everything it needed to come out of that aircraft .”

That meant keeping the weight within the bounds of what a C-17 cargo transport plane can deliver. General Dynamics said that it considered other design options to reduce the weight of combat vehicles.

If you’re at #AUSA2022, swing by our booth to check out a scale model of our latest Mobile Protected Firepower vehicle configuration for the @usarmy. The MPF’s high power to weight ratio and hydro-pneumatic suspension offer outstanding speed and maneuverability. #gdatausa

— General Dynamics Land Systems (@GD_LandSystems) October 12, 2022

” Talking about armor protection obviously it’s something we can do, but a more mundane one are the road wheels. They’re the same size as a Bradley vehicle, but they weigh a lot less because they’re made out of stregth aluminum. They are the same size as a Bradley vehicle but weigh less because they are made from high-strength aluminum .

Should Army decide that the MPF requires more or heavier armor in the future the vehicle’s frame can accommodate it.

” We have add-on armor along the sides and the bottom that would allow us to in the future, as threats evolve and new materials become available. You simply can take off one set and put on a new material or thicker armor as needed,” states Vernagus. This system also includes hooks that can be used to add defenses such as active protection systems that explode in incoming anti-tank weapons, minimizing their impact.

To ensure that new tank crews can adjust to the MPFs when they arrive, the tank has the same crew configuration as an Abrams tank, with the crew located further back. However, the tank’s engine and transmission are still in the front. The engine and transmission of this MPF are mounted in the front, unlike the Abrams and Patton tanks that preceded it. The MPF’s interior design, feel and controls closely match the Abrams.

The design beat a rival model by BAE during trials before the Army selected General Dynamics as the manufacturer of the MPF in June. During testing, the designers were able to adapt to the feedback of soldiers.

” The side skirts that cover the track during the first phase of this program were bolt-on,” Vernagus says. “So soldiers had to remove these bolts from the big heavy armor piece every time they needed to maintain the track or adjust anything. We have now put on hinges for the next phase of this program so that those skirts open sideways and they can get to what they need without having to remove a heavy armor piece .

Deliveries for the production run MPF, which still lacks a proper, non-acronym-based name, are scheduled to begin by the end of fiscal year 2023.

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