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Lightweight Air Portable Vehicles Move Onto the Radar By Julian Nettlefold


Polaris MRZR 4In previous years the focus has been on protection against mines and IEDs, sacrificing speed and performance to achieve this goal. The JLTV Programme in the USA is the culmination of a project to connect lightweight capability with protection at an affordable price.

However, as the USMC and other forces across the world have pointed out, JLTV is too heavy and cumbersome to meet the requirements for air transportation in CH-47 Chinooks and the V-22 Osprey. The growth of the need for fast insertion missions, getting troops and vehicles on the ground in double quick time, such as the killing of Osama Bin Laden,  has grown, mainly due to the IS operations in the Middle east which have proven the worth of fast interdiction operations using non-armoured lightweight vehicles.

Sofic, held in Tampa in May this year was a showcase for a number of these vehicles which are being offered for Requirements in the USA, UK and Netherlands. The Editor took a tour of the floor to meet the Companines.

Polaris Vehicles

Our first stop was Polaris Defense to get an update on the range of products from PR guru Katie Paulson.

“Polaris Defense has submitted a response for the U.S. Army’s request for information regarding the ULCV program. The market questionnaire had a deadline of today and is designed to help program management better understand the capabilities of manufacturers and availability of commercial products, like DAGOR™. Our tested and proven DAGOR vehicle is in the hands of U.S. and allied Special Forces and the feedback has been extremely positive,” said Rich Haddad, general manager of Polaris Defense. “It was designed for requirements very similar to what we are seeing materialize for the ULCV, and as a result DAGOR already represents the optimum balance of payload, off-road mobility and tactical air transportability. If we were designing a vehicle specifically for ULCV, the result would be DAGOR with a short list of accessories, which we detailed in our RFI response to the U.S. Army.”

DAGOR made its public debut at AUSA last October with contracts from U.S. and allied Special Forces. Since its expedited deliveries started in November, U.S. and international government testing has been rigorous – and positive.

“We’ve heard from our Special Forces customers that DAGOR gets them places they have not gone in a vehicle before,” said Haddad. “It makes us very proud that the vehicle we worked hard to produce truly fills a mobility gap, and that DAGOR was – and still is – a needed capability.”

DAGOR was designed for a mobility gap for light infantry and special operations forces. The gap could be filled with a vehicle that is easily transported by tactical air, carries enough payload to be mission effective and carries its full payload in extreme off-road terrain. DAGOR meets those requirements in a robust and flexible off-road vehicle platform that can be configured for up to 9 Warfighters.

“DAGOR looks to be a great natural fit for the ULCV requirements as they are provided today,” said Haddad. “Bottom line, DAGOR allows the Warfighter to go faster with more people and payload while enhancing their mobility and combat effectiveness over difficult terrain.”

 Polaris Defense brings game-changing resources to the military in the area of off-road mobility as part of a larger, commercial company. Polaris provides a wealth of engineering, production and sustainability resources that come with being a recognized leader in the off-road vehicle industry. Polaris maintains a robust global network of dealers, distributors, and subsidiaries, providing dedicated full life-cycle support for these vehicles throughout the world. And with a proven and well-established Defense team, the company works closely with military customers to gain a thorough understanding of their off-road mobility needs.

The Dagor on display at SOFIC mounted a Dillon mini-gun on a Control Solutions CS5200 S Lightweight Motorized Gun Turret (LMGT).

The Lightweight Motorized Gun Turret (LMGT) provides a new one-piece system that can be easily mounted on almost any vehicle. Reducing the vehicle weight will continue to be a key requirement of military and police forces worldwide.

The LMGT is powered through a built-in rotary slip ring that connects to the vehicle’s power source. The slip ring allows the gun turret to rotate a continuous 360 degrees without wires getting in the way of the gunner.

The LMGT’s motor-drive spins the turret and can hold in position with any gun and on any slope. The motor-drive can be disabled for manual use.

With its simple one-piece design, the turret can be easily mounted on the roof of most vehicles with almost no space taken-up inside the vehicle. Its light weight does not impact the vehicle’s center-of-gravity or overall stability.

BATTLESPACE was also briefed on the Polaris UK offering of the Dagor for the UK’s Requirement.

We hope to drive the Dagor in the near future and we hope to have the vehicle with the above systems on display at OTN 2016.

Navistar International Corporation

sotvBATTLESPACE moved on to Navistar International Corporation where we met up with Kevin Thomas the recently appointed president of Navistar Defense LLC, taking over from Bob Walsh.  Thomas, 51, most recently performed dual roles as director of engineering for Navistar Defense and managing director for the certification and compliance group for Navistar, Inc.

Kevin took the Editor round the Booth where we saw the Special Operations Tactical Vehicle (SOTV). Navistar’s SOTV-B (Blended) variant is on display in booth 2040. It is a low-profile, purpose-built armored vehicle designed for counter-insurgency operations.

Special Operations Tactical Vehicle (SOTV).

Navistar’s SOTV-B (Blended) variant is on display in booth 2040. It is a low-profile, purpose-built armored vehicle designed for counter-insurgency operations.

“While it may look like a typical small truck seen throughout the Middle East and around the world, it’s anything but,” said Kevin Thomas. “The SOTV is a purpose-built vehicle designed specifically to provide the highest levels of protection and performance, while ‘hiding in plain view.”

Everything in the SOTV—from the powerful engine, to the dynamic suspension and drive train, to the armor system, to the modular electronics capability—is designed for the highest level of mission performance and protection. As a purpose-built vehicle with a robust design and components, it provides a significantly longer life cycle than an up-armored light truck.

The SOTV-B shares significant commonality with the SOTV-A, which is Navistar Defense’s tactical variant for covert operations. Highly modular, the SOTV can be configured with a variety of weapons and C4ISR packages for a wide range of missions.

“The SOTV-B vehicle provides significantly greater protection and performance than traditional up-armored commercial light trucks,” Thomas added. “It can be skinned to look like any truck of choice—flexible, but designed from the inside out for special operations.”

General Dynamics

flyerThe Editor was shown the Flyer-60 Advanced Light Strike Vehicle which was recently selected for the US Army’s GMV 1.1 Requirement as is now an entrant for the ULCV Requirement

The Flyer-60 Advanced Light Strike Vehicle was developed to fill operational gaps in fixed and rotary wing ground mobility deployment requiring a lightweight, mobile, air transportable vehicle capable of being rapidly reconfigured for a variety of mission needs. The Flyer-60 is a mature, highly mobile platform, with a payload capacity of up to 3,500 pounds and meets all internal transport requirements for the V-22 Osprey. Capable of being either internally and externally transportable in the V-22, CH-53, C-130 and C-5 aircraft. The Flyer-60 can move to and from the event location with a higher payload capacity and increased range over traditional transport capabilities.

As a reliable and high performance vehicle, the Flyer-60 offers safe and fast operating speeds with superior levels of mobility and maneuverability. It’s highly adaptable to severe, rugged and restrictive terrains while providing off-road, cross-country mobility in all types of weather conditions.

The Flyer vehicle’s modular approach provides the warfighter with a rapid mission reconfiguration capability. The vehicle can quickly be reconfigure in the field, to perform multiple missions such as light strike assault, rescue and evacuation, command and control, and reconnaissance, either armored or unarmored. The vehicle can easily incorporate a 360º weapon ring or carry up to a five patient litter.


* Light Strike Armored or Unarmored

* Rescue and Personnel Recovery

* Reconnaissance

* C4ISR (Sensor, UAV, SOWT, RSTA)

* Communication

The Flyer-60 is a Non-Developmental Item (NDI) containing 80% COTS and HWMVV platforms. The Flyer has a state of the art diesel 1.9L 150 Hp six-speed power train, cooling, brake and fuel systems with a low fuel consumption rate of 24mpg when traveling at 40mph.

The Flyer maximizes the use of HWMVV NSN parts such as: differentials, steering rod ends, tie down rings, light system, alternator, batteries, suspension ball joints, air compressor and tires.

The Editor hopes to drive the Flyer in the near future, we invited GDUK to display the Flyer at OTN 2016.

Future Operations

The drive for faster lighter air portable vehicles portends a change in operations by the world’s armed forces and will see a growth in the usage of the V-22 Osprey which can fly troops and vehicles directly into and out of theatre without the need to debus into a CH-47 from the transport aircraft such as C-130 or A400M.

Japan and Israel have recently purchased Osprey, now that the aircraft is affordable and has met its reliability targets don’t be surprised to see other militaries taking a look, the UK is already rumoured to be looking at the Osprey for carrier logistic operations, once in service, many other uses will be found!

Stop Press!

As BATTLESPACE went to Press Canada announced a Tender for Lightweight Vehicles.

Canada –  Special Forces want ultra-light combat vehicles. The Canadian Special Forces have released an RFI to plan a procurement of ultra-light combat vehicles (ULCV). The Special Forces want brand new ultra-light combat vehicles small enough to be stored inside Chinook helicopters and delivered by parachute for top secret operations, according to the RFI recently released online.

The tender, which asks for information on the platforms in advance of potential purchase, says the vehicles must be able to function in polar and desert temperatures, reach speeds of 55 miles an hour within the first 2,500 feet of travel and sustain that at a cruising speed across distances of 30 miles. A typical ULCV carries at least four soldiers at a time and rarely refuels.

Solicitation Number: W6399-16HB11/A

File Reference Number: 265bl.W6399-16HB11

GETS reference number: PW-$$BL-265-25328

Issuing Authority: Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM)

Deadline: 28 September 2015

Deadline for submission of Annex B: 14 September 2015

(Source: MPI – Hawk Information)

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