General Dynamics Advances $400 Million Ground Combat Vehicle

General Dynamics (NYSE: GD  ) has trundled one step closer to building the Army's next big armored vehicle system.

On Friday, the defense contractor responsible for keeping the U.S. Army supplied with its Abrams main battle tanks and Stryker armored personnel carriers (APCs) announced that it has completed preliminary design review on its new Ground Combat Vehicle Infantry Fighting Vehicle. GCV, as the project is known, is a next-generation combat system that could eventually supplement or replace the Army's current fleet of Bradley and Stryker APCs.

General Dynamics, along with team members Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Tognum America, won a $439.7 million contract to develop the GCV in 2011. It has until Q2 2014 to finish the work, with a view toward eventually beginning production of the GCV for the Army around 2019.

Last month, the GCV underwent a four-day review designed to determine whether the vehicle, at this point in its development, looks likely to accomplish the "Tier 1" tasks the Army has set for it, including proving the system's ability to survive mine and rocket propelled grenade (RPG) blasts, and to do so at a reasonable cost. Having passed this test, the company will now proceed to prove that GCV can also accomplish lower priority Tier 2 requirements.

Within the project, partner Lockheed is responsible for building the GCVs turret and its offensive capabilities. Raytheon is responsible for defenses against RPGs, indirect vision equipment, and sensor integration. Tognum is taking care of the engines.

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