Aug. 22, 2013 - By PAUL McLEARY - Defense News
In one of the dwindling number of domestic new build ground vehicle contracts available to the US defense industry, the US Special Operations Command today awarded General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems a contract worth at least $562 million its Ground Mobility Vehicle 1.1 (GMV) program.
The special ops command has said that it wants to buy 1,297 GMVs to replace the current 1,072 Humvee-based GMVs it has in its inventory. Defense News reported back in May that SOCOM had already planned to spend about $24 million on the program in fiscal 2014 for the first 101 vehicles, at a price tag of at $245,000 per vehicle.
Barring any protests, the loss will come as a bitter pill for current GMV-maker AM General and Navistar International, companies who are looking for more business at a time when the buys of Humvees and MRAPs have ended. Oshkosh Defense was eliminated from the competition in January, after which it filed a protest which was then withdrawn in April.
Requirements documents released last year said that the GMV would have to weigh less than 7,000 pounds, have the ability to carry up to seven passengers and be transportable in an M/CH-47 Chinook helicopter.
In today’s notice about the award, the government said that it plans on spending about $14 million in already allocated fiscal 2012 and 2013 budgets for research, test and evaluation on the GMV.
Final deliveries of all GMVs are expected to be complete by September 2020.
SOCOM has also said that it’s in the market for an even smaller vehicle that could fit in the back of a V-22 Osprey. SOCOM released a request for proposals on April 5 for the program, which calls for a lightly armored vehicle that can roll out of the back of an Osprey and begin firing mounted weapons within 60 seconds.
Funding for that program would kick off in the 2015 budget SOCOM officials announced this spring, and that industry has already started to submit its plans to meet the requirement. The Air Force special operation command will begin doing combat evaluations of prototypes in 2014.