In June 2023, the Army down selected American Rheinmetall Vehicles and General Dynamics Land Systems to go forward in the competition.
The XM30 Mechanized Infantry Combat Vehicle (MICV), formerly known as the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV), was a United States Army program aimed at creating a promising armored vehicle to replace M2 Bradley IFV. The program has entered the prototype phase.
In June 2023, the Army down selected American Rheinmetall Vehicles and General Dynamics Land Systems to go forward in the competition. These two teams will now move on to the next phase of the programme and split a $1.6 billion development fund to develop a total of eleven prototypes each, seven being for a contract award with an option for four more. They will also develop two ballistic hulls, turrets, armor coupons, and digital model twins during this phase of the programme. The Army also announced due to the initial design stage of the OMFV being complete that they would be redesignating the programme as the XM30 Mechanized Infantry Combat Vehicle.
From the concept images, it shows the sleek, protected, lethal looking chassis likely to inform the ultimate XM30 design. According to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army, “In the close fight, the XM30 will enable the ability of squads to maneuver by detecting and destroying targets at a range beyond the enemy’s capability.”
While the vehicle is intended to replace the Bradley in a general sense and perform key missions know for the Bradley such as full-squad infantry delivery into combat under hostile fire, the XM30 massively expands the operational envelope for the new vehicle. Clearly the intent is to leverage and build upon a new generation of technologies which have emerged and been refined since the days of the Bradley, particularly in the realm of AI, Robotics, Networking and Command and Control on the move.
This is as significant as it is not surprising, as the Army has in recent years been working intensely to advance and refine manned-unmanned teaming operations to better enable maneuver formations to surveil hostile areas, close with enemies, destroy enemy drones and armored vehicles and “resupply” moving armored formations. Unmanned systems, for instance, and deliver supplies and ammunition to forward advancing units, surveil high-threat areas under enemy fire without risk to soldiers and operate as a critical forward, multi-domain command and control node connecting manned combat vehicles with aerial drones, dismounted infantry and even command and control centers in real time.
Overall, the concept looks interesting but may not really indicate that much, as some of the most significant technological advances woven into the vehicle are not likely visible by looking at the exterior. Visible attributes shown in the Concept Image are reactive armor, small, sleek angular turret and crew-serve weapons station on top of the turret. One interesting question is it is difficult to discern if there is a ring-mount underneath the crew-served weapons station. Certainly targeting and attack controlling the weapon can be done within the vehicle with a Common Remotely Operated Weapons Station (CROWS), and the ICV is certain to operate something like that, however what remains unknown is whether the entire turret is unmanned or perhaps intended to support a solider manning the weapon through a ring mount. The vehicle may ultimately be both, meaning operate an unmanned turret and also provide an opening for a soldier to emerge.