Given the pending effort to recapitalize a large slice of the U.S. Army HMMWV fleet, it was no surprise that several companies used the venue of the 2011 Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting and Symposium to highlight their efforts and likely offerings for that program.
Among the many alternatives highlighted at AUSA was the Integrated SMART V™ (ISV™) from BAE Systems.
“The bottom line here is that we tried to not just ‘do the band-aids’ on the vehicle,” explained Adnan Hiros, Light Tactical Vehicle program director for BAE Systems. “The idea was to design the ISV as a ‘system engineered’ vehicle.”
“The government focus is on crew survivability, which was our focus as well. And we designed this vehicle on our IRAD [internal research and development] budget. So we put the crew compartment first and foremost. And by moving the vehicle away from the ground and doing other system engineering activities we were able to achieve ‘1X’ MRAP protection levels,” he said.
“We have also done quite a few automotive improvements,” he added. “Because we know very well that our customer is really ‘suffering’ from that perspective. They have told us that. In fact, if you read the draft RFP you can really see that first and foremost is survivability. Second, but also very important, is the performance. And that includes upgrades to the engine, transmission and everything else. We have done all of that.”
ISV performance improvements include upgrades on the engine, improvements on transmission and transfer case, and improvements to both chassis and suspension.
“The way we designed this vehicle also keeps something else very important in mind – the price. Because the fact is that we know very well the budget struggles that our country is going through. $180,000 is what we have as a target [cost]. And that is something that we are definitely going to reach for the A-kit base vehicle,” he said.
Asked if there were “any surprises” in the latest draft RFP, Hiros offered, “There were no surprises for us, because I think we have done our homework. We have been listening and listening and really applying all of the best practices toward this vehicle. We participated last week [the week of Oct. 3, 2011] in Industry Day in the Detroit area and we are expecting to see the [actual] RFP around the beginning of November – per their schedule on November 10. And then we’ll go from there.”
Proposal submittals are projected by Jan. 13, 2011, with the expectation of three contractor awards for the Technology Demonstration (TD) phase by May 30, 2012. TD contractors will then deliver a small number of vehicles and armor kits 13 weeks later.
“I would say that our major discriminator is that we truly focused on survivability and we designed the ISV not just as a band-aid solution. We designed it from the ground up. It’s really a system engineered vehicle. And you can’t summarize that in one particular point. Because whoever tries to accomplish that by changing one or two or three simple things – maybe replacing the seats or replacing the belly plate or changing the suspension and lifting the vehicle up – will not do. It needs to be a system engineered vehicle that addresses all of the factors,” he said.