Defense Media Network

Special Operations Forces Address Short-term and Long-term Ground Mobility Needs

Several pending procurement actions point to a continuing multi-pronged approach to balancing both short term and long term needs for special operations ground mobility.

As outlined in a recent briefing to industry, the current portfolio of special operations land mobility platforms includes:

  • more than 640 modified-commercial off-the-shelf all-terrain vehicles;
  • more than 360 modified-commercial off-the-shelf light tactical all terrain vehicles;
  • approximately 1,100 HMMWV-based Special Operations Modified Ground Mobility Vehicles;
  • more than 1,100 heavy vehicles (MRAP & M-ATV); and
  • more than 165 non-standard commercial vehicles.

Various levels of production and/or sustainment efforts and strategies are under way within each of those product categories.

The announced ATV strategy, for example, calls for replacing the aging ATV fleet (largely Polaris MV-700) with “off-the-shelf” vehicles through a projected annual procurement quantity of 245 ATVs until the full operational capability of 1,183 vehicles is attained. Past program updates have projected a contract award for the ATV effort around the end of this calendar year.

Another emerging near-term procurement action points to an anticipated “urgent” United States Special Operations Command need for approximately 250 additional non-standard commercial vehicles, split evenly between dual cab pickups and sport utility vehicle designs.

According to the announcement, “Vehicles will be the latest model vehicles typically found in central Asia (e.g., Toyota Hilux, Toyota Prado, Mitsubishi Pajero, and Land Rover Defender)…” Vehicle modifications will include armoring against specific ballistic threats as defined in separate classified sections of a follow-on request for proposals (RFP), 4×4 wheel drive with heavy duty brakes and suspension to accommodate increased curb weight, full skid plates and running boards, diesel engine, left hand steering, and additional modifications also identified in the RFP.

The planned procurement, conducted against a background described as “unusual and compelling urgency,” included the use of approved “limited competition procedures” with delivery of all vehicles to be completed within 90-120 days after contract award.

Attempts to satisfy longer-term SOF land mobility requirements are encompassed in an emerging procurement program for a system dubbed Ground Mobility Vehicle 1.1 (GMV 1.1). The new system would likely serve as complement and eventual replacement for the original Ground Mobility Vehicle that completes production this calendar year and transitions to sustainment posture.

According to GMV 1.1 program descriptions, “The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), Directorate of Procurement has a requirement to purchase a Modified-Government off-the shelf (M-GOTS) vehicle with Special Operations Forces (SOF) peculiar modifications. This vehicle will be a highly mobile, CH-47 transportable platform with associated manuals, life cycle spare parts, mechanical/operator training, and a Government furnished C4ISR suite. It is anticipated that this procurement will be accomplished using full and open competition with the intent of awarding an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) type of contract.”

Acknowledging that the supporting acquisition strategy is still under development, program planners have outlined a two-phase approach “wherein Phase I would include written proposal and certified test data provided at contractor’s expense, with an award of up to two contracts for further Test and Evaluation (T&E).  Phase II would include Government purchases of approximately two prototypes for Engineering/Developmental Testing (DT)/Operational Testing (OT) from each vendor, with down select to single vendor and exercise of the production option.”

A second round of industry day events is planned for mid-October to provide an opportunity for contractors who have been approved for explicit access to obtain information on the GMV 1.1 program.


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-12735">

    RP Advanced Mobile Systems has a vehicle that can fit the CH-47 (with fast rope system installed) as well as the CV-22.

    li class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-12770">

    What are they like against IED’s though?

    li class="comment byuser comment-author-chuck-oldham even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-12865">

    Well, we’ll see what develops. But we can’t make everything IED-proof. The MRAPs we have right now are too heavy for 70 percent of the world’s bridges, and not every battlefield will be sown with IEDs.