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Pentagon budget 2021: Army and USMC opt to slow combat vehicle production at a BAE Systems facility

12 February 2020
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The US Army and USMC are opting to slow production of their Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicles (pictured above), the M109A7 Paladin self-propelled howitzer upgrades, and Amphibious Combat Vehicles in FY 2021. All are produced at BAE Systems’ York, Pennsylvania facility. Source: BAE Systems

Production challenges at BAE Systems' York, Pennsylvania, facility has prompted the US Army and US Marine Corps (USMC) to slow down their buys of three ground combat vehicle programmes - the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV), the M109A7 Paladin self-propelled howitzer upgrade, and the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV).

Army officials briefed reporters about the service's fiscal year 2021 (FY 2021) USD178 billion budget request on 11 February and shed some light on their service's decision to reduce next year's previously planned AMPV and Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) buys.

The service had been too enthusiastic when it set the previous purchase plan and "then we found out there were some additional unforeseen issues in the industrial base", John Daniels, the service's deputy assistant secretary for plans, programmes and resources, told reporters.

"So, we took the opportunity to use that money to pay other bills inside the army and slow the production curve to get a little bit of time to get a better vehicle out," he added.

Both the AMPV and the PIM are manufactured at BAE Systems' York facility, and the company has encountered several challenges producing the PIM. In 2017, for example, the company even halted PIM deliveries for six months to address welding problems. However, as of October 2019, the service said the company had rebound on PIM production and was meeting its monthly goals, while and said that AMPV deliveries were on schedule.

Regardless, the service wants to funnel production dollars away from both programmes next year before ramping up its buy in later years.

On AMPV, the service had planned to buy 143 vehicles in FY 2021 with USD617 million but is instead only asking lawmakers for USD193 million for 32.

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