Defense Media Network

SOF Ground Vehicles

A recent example of this type of “small quantity” procurement effort can be seen in a late February 2013 pre-solicitation announcement for a small number of V-22 Internally Transportable Vehicles (ITVs). According to the announcement, the non-developmental item vehicles will be “a highly mobile, V-22 transportable platform with associated manuals, operator training, and sustainment support to include personnel, spares, and consumables,” with a minimum basic quantity requirement for just two vehicles, followed by the ability to purchase eight additional vehicles.

U.S. special operations mobility platforms also include a significant number of motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles. USSOCOM ATV inventories include several different platforms like the Kawasaki Teryx® 750 and the Polaris MV850.

Kawasaki LTATV

U.S. special operations forces members travel in a two-seater Kawasaki Lightweight Tactical All-Terrain Vehicle (LTATV) 2 while on operations in Farah province, Afghanistan, 2012. LTATVs feature a side-by-side seating arrangement and a storage area to the rear. Note the M240 machine gun fitted on a swing-mount on the passenger side. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Pete Thibodeau

The Kawasaki Teryx 750 side-by-side Light Tactical ATV (LTATV), for example, began entering selected USSOCOM element inventories in the 2008-2009 time frame and has been followed more recently by the Polaris MV850 “saddle seat.” In the latter case, in a late-July 2012 Polaris conference call highlighting second quarter company financial performance, Polaris executives pointed to the initial shipments of the company’s MV850 ATV to USSOCOM customers. The executives added that they also saw strong service interest in the company’s Military RZR (MRZR), which would be available beginning in the third quarter of 2012.

According to Mike Jackson, founder of, the recent purchase of the MV850s by USSOCOM serves to highlight the command’s continued interest in lighter, more mobile platforms.

Jackson explained that “supports all types of ATVs, side-by-sides, and special operations vehicles used by USSOCOM. And that’s the thing that really makes us unique. As a distributor I really don’t care which vehicle platform they use, because my real goal is sustainment. So whether they are buying a Toyota HiLux, Kawasaki, Arctic Cat, Can-Am, or Polaris it doesn’t matter to me, because we supply parts for all of them.”

Along with the ATVs, Jackson pointed to motorcycles like the Christini 2WD and KTM 450 also being sourced by USSOCOM.

Navistar Defense GMV1.1

Navistar Defense’s GMV 1.1 contender, the Special Operations Tactical Vehicle (SOTV), reflects the company’s past work on the Non-Standard Tactical Truck (NSTT), designed to resemble the ubiquitous Toyota HiLux. Navistar photo by Randal Crow,

Some of the existing USSOCOM ATV platforms are being modified for expanded utility. Early February 2013, for example, saw the issue of two modification solicitations on behalf of Naval Special Warfare Development Group. The first called for modification of an “existing side-by-side 6X6 all-terrain vehicle to accommodate high pressure oxygen storage bottles for Exothermic Torching operations.” The second called for the modification of existing platforms “to mount a high pressure air compressor package that consists of a single gasoline engine powered air compressor and high-pressure on-board air storage bottles.”

While declining to comment on the modification efforts, Jackson did acknowledge that his ATV sustainment business was built upon his own background in special operations. Describing most of the sustainment support efforts as “needs-based fulfillment,” he explained, “Normally what happens is that if the user has a great supplier for something then they don’t contact me. But if they’re not able to get good, responsive support at a good price, that’s usually when we get involved.”

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Scott Gourley is a former U.S. Army officer and the author of more than 1,500...

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-207893">

    Cold Fire should be standard issue on these vehicles. Fire on the battlefield is a pressing and constant problem that can have catastrophic results for personnel and equipment. Due to the explosive nature of military ordinance and the use of many caustic materials for the production of military vehicles, effective fire suppression is a significant factor in mitigating fire damage incurred through accidents and attacks. If fire suppression of burning surfaces is not