General Dynamics Griffin
Infantry Combat Vehicle Prototype
The General Dynamics Griffin is one of several high-profile designs competing to replace the Bradley IFV family for the U.S. Army.
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The Griffin III is a frontline contender for the United States Army's Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) program which seeks a successor to the storied, though aging, line of Bradley fighting vehicles. it is being developed by General Dynamics, a proven industry player in the field of armored warfare, and will presumably go head-to-head against two other primary competing designs, one from Rheinmetall of Germany through its "Lynx KF" endeavor and BAe Systems (Sweden) and their promoted CV90 platform (both detailed elsewhere on this site).
In U.S. Army service, the Griffin III would fulfill the primary role of mobile support for its brigade-level combat teams, bouncing between offensive and defensive duties as needed. Recent combat actions in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria have rewritten the roles of armored warfare doctrine to an extent - and many armies are gearing their near-future inventories to meet the new environment, one that is very different from what was evolved during the Cold War period (1947-1991).
The original Griffin model of 2016 was shown with a 120mm main armament. The Griffin III model of 2018 has since been evolved with a 50mm autocannon as standard armament.
The Griffin is a 40-ton vehicle, classified in some sources as a light tank, has qualities more akin to an Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV) or Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) centered on high modularity for having a single design fulfilling a plethora of battlefield roles. On paper this makes for lower production and procurement costs, eases long-term logistics, and allows for a single chassis to be used to form the framework of other vehicle types while also ensuring some level of "future-proofing" as new technologies become available: both the internal and external portions of the vehicle will be changeable to suit the customer's battlefield requirement. In this way, a single example can be outfitted to cover various roles - namely protected battlefield ambulance, Command and Control (C2), and Armored Recovery Vehicle (ARV).
The Griffin III's turret (either manned or unmanned) will sport a 50mm autocannon with digital controlling for accurate firing on-the-move and target identification and tracking. The elevation span of the main gun is +85 / -20-degrees, the former to better engage high-elevation targets - particularly useful in an urban or mountainous environment. As with the hull, the turret's design is inherently modular to accommodate a variety of existing (and future) combat systems and components allowing the vehicle to conform to the current battlefield need. There is an active/passive protection system (primarily in the form of the Israeli-developed "Iron Fist" Active Protection System - or "APS") and inherent advanced crew situational awareness to enhance survivability against Anti-Tank Guided-Missiles (ATGMs) as well as Rocket-Propelled Grenades (RPGs). An autoloader will be present to automatically manage the main gun's ammunition supply which will feature the standard mix of HE (High-Explosive) and AP (Armored-Piercing) shell types. Up to six infantrymen will be carried under protection in the rear-set fighting compartment (in addition to the three operating crew - driver, commander, and gunner). An optional remotely-controlled 12.7mm heavy machine on the turret roof is also noted, its traversal independent of the turret's current facing.
The example showcased in October of 2018 was of conventional design arrangement with basic hull shape and turret set over the middle of the hull roof. The driver has a position at front-left with the powerpack to his right. The turret fields its 50mm XM913 autocannon from the center of its frontal face, straddled by various protected sensors and systems. Smoke grenade dischargers are visible for an inherent self-screening capability. The drive gear includes six double-tired roadwheels to a hull side with the drive sprocket at front and the track idler at rear. No skirt side armor was present on this showcase vehicle (described as a technology demonstrator). The track-link sections are wide for good ground pressure.
Externally, the vehicle is coated in a special "skin" to further reduce its radar signature to prying ATGM weaponry. Day/night vision capability will be standard for operating in all types of light level environments. Due to its compact form and lightweight status, the Griffin III would be capable of air-transportation. With its 40-ton listed weight, there would be 10-tons of payload play centered on the modularity aspects of the tank.
Like the German Lynx KF, the Griffin III will have full support of UAV launching to accomplish various battlefield tasks including communications jamming, reconnaissance, and suicidal attacks of hidden enemy elements.
The basic hull design of the Griffin III is based in the British Army's "AJAX" (fmr. "Scout SV") system detailed elsewhere on this site. The Griffin III faces stiff competition from the CV90 and the Lynx KF but has the advantage of being based on a relatively newer and proven framework in the Ajax product. The Griffin III is also the only offering of the lot being developed with a 50mm main armament as standard - a weapon the U.S. Army is focusing on for its next ICV/IFV - this will give it greater effectiveness over the new generation of Russian IFVs and heavy APCs being brought online. Heavy IFVs are becoming the way of the future, further blurring the line between Main Battle Tank (MBT) and IFV.