GMV Moves Forward
By Kevin Hunter
Now that disputes over the award of the Integration and Test (I&T) phase contract for Special Operations Command’s Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV) 1.1 program are resolved, General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GDOTS) is readying up to nine prototype vehicles. This will allow the company to conduct design reviews and finalize configuration for the Low-Rate Initial Production phase, which is scheduled to begin in 2015, or at the end of the I&T phase. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has indicated it might purchase up to 1,500 vehicles if all options are exercised, a prospective value of $562 million.
“We’re excited to finally move forward with the GMV 1.1 program,” Colonel Joe Capobianco, Program Executive Officer-Special Operations Forces (SOF) Warrior told A&M. “We see this vehicle design as the material solution that will close the validated SOF-peculiar capability requirement. GMV 1.1 will be the future centerpiece of SOF ground mobility, not only for its capabilities but also for its affordability.”
The Flyer Gen III GMV 1.1 is a non-developmental item, purpose built lightweight vehicle specifically designed to meet high-priority mission requirements. Designed to fit into the CH/MH-47 helicopter, the GMV 1.1 is a72-inch-wide variant derived from the narrower 60-inch Flyer Gen II Advanced Light Strike Vehicle (ALSV), which can be transported by the V-22 Osprey.
According to Capobianco, the new ALSV adds “increased speed, mobility, and air transportability” for SOF in challenging situations. “[It] will provide our operators access to previously denied terrain while increasing our ability to accomplish complex missions in increasingly austere and demanding environments,” he said.
“We see this vehicle design as the material solution that will close the validated SOF-peculiar capability requirement. GMV 1.1 will be the future centerpiece of SOF ground mobility, not only for its capabilities but also for its affordability.” – Col. Joe Capobianco
Nor does the vehicle leave force protection to chance: Users may add ballistic protection (i.e., “up armor” when operating in a hostile setting. Per SOCOM requirements, the primary weapon is fully operational in under a minute after exiting the aircraft. The vehicle is capable of carrying a variety of armaments, such as the M2 and M240/M249 machine guns, M134 mini gun, and the Mk19 and Mk47 grenade launchers.
“The Flyer GMV 1.1 vehicle, [as] with its sister vehicle the Flyer Gen II, are multi-role, cost-saving solutions with significant commercial-off-the shelf (COTS) usage,” said Sean Ridley, Program Manager for Lightweight Tactical Vehicles at GD-OTS. Existing spare inventory such as tires, steering, and electronics reduce operational footprint. The similarities in operation and maintenance demand minimal training.
“Since the GMV1.1 utilizes COTS technology,” Capobianco said, “we anticipate a decrease in its lifecycle costs, while delivering value over the long-term to SOF.”
The GD-OTS team brings a tremendous amount of experience to the production of lightweight, mobile tactical vehicles, building on its engineering and integration efforts with the Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Fighting Support System. “Flyer Defense, our teaming partner, is the design authority for the Flyer family of vehicles and has over 20 years of proven expertise in developing and building internally air transportable vehicles,” noted Ridley.
Click here for a rundown of V-22 Osprey–transportable vehicles.
Top photo caption: The Flyer Ground Mobility Vehicle 1.1 equipped with Mk44 Minigun. (GD-OTS)
This article was originally published in the May 2014 issue of Armor & Mobility.