WASHINGTON: It looks like a tank, drives on tracks like a tank, fires 120 mm shells at several times the speed of sound like a tank — but don’t call it a tank.
The General Dynamics “Griffin” is a kind of concept car on steroids, a demonstration of existing technologies that could be quickly fit together for the Army’s Mobile Protected Firepower program. In a 28-ton package — less than half the weight of the M1 Abrams tank (which GD builds), Griffin combines the electronics of the latest model M1, the hull of the British Ajax scout vehicle (which GD also builds), and the lightweight 120 mm cannon developed for the cancelled Future Combat Systems (which GD worked on). General Dynamics director of business development Mike Peck made clear that GD doesn’t expect to sell the Griffin itself as-is, but they’re bringing by Army leaders to get input on a next-gen version that might meet the still-evolving requirements for Mobile Protected Firepower.
MPF is the Army’s effort to build a heavily armed combat vehicle light enough to deploy with paratroopers and other light infantry, providing them with, well, mobile protected firepower against high-end foes. MPFs would be the mama bears protecting troops in unarmored off-road vehicles like the Polaris DAGOR, also on display at AUSA.