This Could Be The US Army’s New Light Tank – The Griffin

Defense contractor General Dynamics has unveiled a new armored vehicle designed to fulfill a U.S. Army requirement for a new light tank.

The MPF would give a boost to firepower-strapped light infantry divisions, especially against enemy fortifications and lighter armored vehicles such as the Russia’s new Kurganets infantry fighting vehicle and China’s new light tank.

To “keep up with the Joneses” so to speak, defense contractor General Dynamics has presented a new armored model on a new light Chinese tank and Russia’s novel Kurganets infantry combat vehicle.

Called the Griffin Technology Demonstrator, it’s planned as a quickly moving lightweight vehicle with formidable armament designed to reinforce light infantry troops in a combat zone.

Some months ago, the Army advised its top defense contractors there was interest in Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF), a new vehicle to support light infantry divisions, which must temporarily survive on their own if cut off from naval support.

The MPF would augment their firepower, specifically against lighter armored vehicles and fortified defenses.

The Griffin, at 28 tons, merges the body of the British Army’s new Ajax scout vehicle, also made by General Dynamics, with the firepower of the M1 Abrams tank.

Griffin employs a modern turret using the XM360 tank gun devised for the army’s Future Combat Systems (FSC), an effort in the early 2000s to have a rapid, light replacement for the M1, M109 self-propelled howitzer, and the M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle.

That failed, but the gun designed for the Abrams’ replacement still has a life.

A General Dynamics spokesperson in a video interview said the turret is like that in the Abrams, with a similar touch and feel, so a “tanker” could be readily trained within a short time, Popular Mechanics reported.

The Griffin is only in the concept stage and not ready to come off assembly lines. The intent is to illustrate its capabilities. Unveiling the new vehicle at the recent Association of the U.S. Army convention is a method of generating feedback to improve the design. An improved concept is expected in the next nine to 12 months.

There’s no assurance the MPF will succeed. In the 1990s a similar vehicle, the XM8 Armoured Gun System, was a casualty of budget cuts. Today, the situation for the U.S. Army is similar.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE