At the same time that companies are responding to Army light tactical vehicle programs like HMMWV Recap and joint service efforts like Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), other emerging requirements are highlighting new options to meet special operations land mobility requirements.
One of the industry candidates highlighted at this week’s Association of the U.S. Army annual meeting and exposition was a new variant of “The Flyer” Advanced Light Strike Vehicle (ALSV) from General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GD OTS) and Flyer Defense, LLC.
According to Sean Ridley, deputy program manager for tactical vehicles at GD OTS, the company has developed two new variants of Flyer to meet special operations requirements.
“We have our ‘narrow variant’ on display here, and it is specifically designed for transport inside the V-22,” he explained. “That’s a 60 inch wide vehicle. Then we also have a ‘wide variant’ vehicle that is not able to fit in a V-22. However, it does fit in a CH-47. It is more attuned to the GMV 1.1 requirement. It gives more width to the vehicle, more height, and a little bit more length in the cargo area. It gives the 95th percentile male a little more room.”
Components are 90 percent common between narrow and wide variants, with close to 80 percent commercial off the shelf parts used on both platforms.
Pointing to some of the vehicle features on display at AUSA, Ridley noted, “We have multiple configurations for this vehicle. We have a command and control variant. We are also to put a pallet on the back for use as a resupply vehicle. This version on display is our ‘hybrid’ variant where we can carry two litter patients and still fight our way to pick up search and rescue victims. And then we also have a completely dedicated search and rescue model where we put the same type of roll cage up top and do a five litter configuration.”
He acknowledged that the five litter configuration would be a probable offering for requirements like the Air Force “Guardian Angel” rescue vehicle, which may be solicited in the next two calendar quarters.
Asked about vehicle design discriminators, Ridley asserted “a very high level of mobility on a very narrow platform. And we are able to meet and actually exceed most of the requirements for GMV 1.1 on that narrow platform.”
Another design feature involves armor modularity, with the ability to rapidly add or remove an enhanced ballistic protection package.
“With a well-trained [crew] we can completely strip down a vehicle of armor and be in this [hybrid] configuration in less than two hours,” Ridley said. “And when you put the armor back on we have an A-kit [armor] capability that is built into the vehicle. So you only have to take a few components off, put the armor on, and you are ready to roll.”
“And you make that armor decision based on the threat level,” he added. “The modularity of the armor kit features many pieces. You can just armor the cab if you want to. Or you can armor just the rear or just the bottom. It is totally up to the user, his threat level, and his mission requirements.”
As of this writing, the emerging GMV 1.1 program has released a “sources sought” announcement, with industry expecting the release of a formal request for proposals in the first quarter of calendar year 2012.