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The Army will ask industry next month to provide proposals for a lightweight armored combat vehicle known as the Mobile Protected Firepower or MPF vehicle, and plans call for fielding the system under a rapid acquisition effort.

First, the MPF program skipped the normal two- or three-year technology development phase.

A draft Request For Proposal, or RFP, went out at the end of September and feedback from potential MPF contractors was received this past week. The final RFP is scheduled to be issued in mid-November.

March will be the deadline for MPF proposals and bid samples are to be delivered to test sites in April. The Army will be expecting to see some "mature technologies" on the sample vehicles, a spokesperson said, and may opt for some modified "off-the-shelf" technology to speed up delivery.

The MPF vehicle will provide infantry brigade combat teams with a long-range direct-fire capability for forcible entry and breaching operations. It could very well have a 105mm gun up top, officials said, like the original Abrams tank.

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