According to a memo obtained by Defense News, "fiscal pressures over the FY14-18 timeframe" helped prompt the Army to delay a decision on choosing a contractor to build the Army's new Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) -- the armored personnel carrier that will ultimately replace the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.
According to the memo from the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, the Army is extending the technology development phase of the GCV IFV contest by six months. At the conclusion of the competition, the Army plans to award a contract to only a single vendor. At last report, two teams -- comprised of BAE Systems and Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) on the one hand, and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), Raytheon (NYSE: RTN), and General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) on the other -- were leading candidates to win the contract.
The new timeline reopens the competition to all comers, and anticipates that the Army will draft a new request for proposals from contractors, to be issued in the first quarter of fiscal 2014. No final decision on production is expected to be issued before fiscal 2019.
When that decision comes, though, it promises to be a windfall for the winner. Expectations are that -- budgets permitting -- the Pentagon will ultimately buy upward of 1,900 GCVs, spending as much as $32 billion on them.