Airlift Ready: Vehicles for the V-22

Special Operations Forces (SOF) need multi-functional, mission-critical light utility vehicles capable of conducting rapid ingress/egress and modular enough to redeploy by air at a moment’s notice. The Flyer Gen II and Phantom Badger can both fit in the Osprey—making them necessary mobility pieces for SOF and the Marine Corps.

Tactical Agility, Mission Mobility

GD-OTS was awarded a contract in October 2013 by SOCOM for its non-developmental V-22 Internally Transportable Vehicle (ITV) program. The three-year indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract is for up to 10 vehicles, with integration and logistical support and training. The total value of the contract is $5.8 million if all options are exercised.

Combining mobility, transportability and payload requirements to meet the primary mission were most significant challenges. The vehicle had to be able to fit within the V-22 while carrying the necessary payload and crew.

Flyer Gen I

Flyer Gen II ITV (General Dynamics)

“The Flyer Gen II V-22 ITV is a non-development item containing approximately 80 percent COTS and HWMVV platforms, helping to reduce cost and the logistical footprint,” said Sean Ridley, Program Manager for Lightweight Tactical Vehicles, GD-OTS.

The vehicle shares a significant amount for commonality with the Flyer Gen III GMV 1.1. Similarities in operation, maintenance, training, and spare packages also help reduce costs.

The Flyer Gen II ITV was designed to operate on JP-8 and diesel fuel. It can also run on JP-5 for short periods of time until logistical support can be established. The ITV has a 360-degree weapon ring that is capable of being installed in the field and supports several weapon systems such as the .50 cal M2 machine gun, 40mm Mk47 grenade launcher, or Mk46 light machine gun.

Air-mobile Utility

On 8 April 2014, after a series of torture tests that included form-fit checks, pressure trials, and structural evaluations, the Navy officially certified Boeing’s Phantom Badger light utility ground vehicle for designed for transport in Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft—moving toward actual deployment with the Marine Corps and Air Force Special Operations.

Designed to accommodate a variety of mission-specific rear modules, Phantom Badger includes packages for reconnaissance, combat search and rescue, casualty transport, and explosive ordnance disposal, along with mounts for such weapons as a .50-caliber machine gun and a 40mm automatic grenade launcher.

Phantom Badger Proposal

The Phantom Badger (Boeing)

The Badger makes use of a 3-liter turbo-diesel V6 engine that runs on JP-8 jet fuel and diesel, producing 240 horsepower and 420 pound-feet of torque sufficient to enable the four wheel-drive vehicle to reach 80 mph on road.

With the vertical takeoff and landing capability of a helicopter and the speed and range of a traditional turboprop aircraft, the V-22 Osprey is the smallest aircraft that can accommodate a Phantom Badger. The C-130 cargo aircraft and CH-47 Chinook helicopter hold two apiece, and the C-17 transport can carry 10.

Click here for an update on the Ground Mobility Vehicle 1.1

This article was originally published in the May 2014 issue of Armor & Mobility.