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US Bradleys to get upgraded APS pending contract award

Iron Fist Light Decoupled system mounted on the Lance turret of the 8×8 Rheinmetall Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle. (Elbit Systems)

The US Army is a step closer to awarding General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems a sole source contract to upgrade Bradley infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) with Elbit Systems' Iron Fist active protection system (APS), following a pre-solicitation notice published on 18 January.

The announcement proposed an eight year, firm-fixed price, indefinite delivery contract worth an undisclosed sum, for the “B-Kit Iron Fist Protection System” in support of Project Manager Mounted Armored Vehicle (PM MAV).

A spokesperson for the US Army confirmed to Janes it does not yet have a sole source production contract in place for Iron Fist APSs for Bradley IFVs. “Any pending contractual actions are pre-decisional in nature and will not be disclosed at this time,” the spokesperson said.

Speaking to Janes , defence sources suggested the contract could equip up to nine US Army brigades with the Iron Fist APS, with priority given to brigades operating in Europe, given the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

This means up to 1,242 Bradley IFVs could feature the ‘second-generation' Iron Fist APS, which is designed to protect armoured vehicles from incoming rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank munitions.

The US Army has been considering the integration of APS technology onboard the Bradley IFV since 2016. Evaluation of Elbit's Iron Fist suffered from “some challenges” during initial testing in 2018, according to service officials.

However, more recent tests conducted at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, and White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, in 2022 resulted in Iron Fist successfully neutralising “70%” of threats, officials added.

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