via Business Insider
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has designed a new suspension for the U.S. Army's Bradley Fighting Vehicle, said two sources with direct knowledge of the matter, potentially the first Japanese defense hardware built for export in decades.Why would BAE go outside their own pretty experienced and capable design teams to tap MHI for this job?
The design is for an upgrade of the mainstay infantry carrier proposed by Britain's BAE Systems . If adopted, it would be the first Japanese component designed specifically for a foreign military to be exported in seven decades.
MHI and other Japanese defense companies are seeking overseas sales after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted a ban on arms exports two-and-a-half years ago. However, no significant export deals have been secured yet.
"It could be a pretty good deal for Mitsubishi Heavy," said one of the sources who know about the partnership with BAE, asking not to be identified because he is not authorized to talk to the media.
The U.S. Army currently has around 6,000 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and has asked BAE and rival General Dynamics Corp to submit proposals for new or upgraded vehicles to improve mobility, fire power and survivability.
The sources did not say how much the Japanese suspension will cost. Twelve of the suspension components would be needed for the twelve road or "bogie" wheels per vehicle to cushion its tracks.
BAE displayed a prototype upgraded Bradley for the first time at the Association of the United States Army exposition in Washington in October, where it also displayed a mock up of MHI's suspension.
“It was simply displayed alongside the vehicle and at this time remains an early prototype, not a part of the vehicle,” said a spokesman for BAE Systems.
MHI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The only thing that makes sense is that perhaps they're looking at that variable height/adjustable setup like the Japanese have on their heavy tanks but would the US Army want the added expense/maintenance requirements that come with that? Raising the hull to aid in IED resistance might be desirable but that smacks of fighting the last war, not getting ready for the big fight that Army HQ says is coming.