FORCE PROTECTION, INC. AND GENERAL DYNAMICS LAND SYSTEMS PARTNER IN RESPONSE TO U.S. ARMY’S M-ATV SOLICITATION
15 Jan 09. Force Protection, Inc. and General Dynamics Land Systems Inc., a business unit of General Dynamics Corporation through their joint venture Force Dynamics, LLC – today announced that they have submitted the Cheetah, a lightweight armored tactical vehicle developed by Force Protection that meets or exceeds TACOM’s threshold requirements for crew protection, mobility and weight in response to the U.S. Army’s MRAP All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) solicitation.
The U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) is soliciting M-ATVs in support of a Joint Urgent Operational Needs statement. TACOM’s requirements for an M-ATV include MRAP threshold survivability, off-road mobility, and lighter weight than existing MRAPs.
Force Protection’s Cheetah vehicle was developed three years ago with a forward vision of this very need and is directly responsive to the requirements outlined in the solicitation. It combines the protective qualities of Force Protection’s Cougar MRAP, delivering exceptional survivability, while allowing for the mobility necessary to navigate difficult terrain, including a very low center of gravity to minimize rollover potential. The Cheetah has completed Force Protection-sponsored blast testing at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland and initial mobility and durability testing at the Nevada Automotive Test Center. The Cheetah platform has already undergone a range of enhancements since it was first developed, including independent suspension, and Force Protection is commencing low-rate production at Force Protection’s Ladson, South Carolina plant.
Michael Moody, Chief Executive Officer of Force Protection, Inc., commented, “We believe that the Cheetah is the ideal vehicle to handle the rough terrain in Afghanistan, while continuing to provide the same high level of survivability that our Cougar vehicle offers today at nearly half of the weight. Force Protection’s strength is staying in front of operational needs and anticipating evolving threats in order to keep the warfighter safe. Having pioneered the monocoque hull, which is the key to the MRAP’s high level of survivability, we are proud to build on that legacy with the next-generation lightweight MRAP, the Cheetah.”
“We are also very pleased to extend and augment our partnership with General Dynamics and believe that our combined capabilities will ensure a rapid, high quality production capability for our customer and the greatest value for our shareholders,” he added.
Mark Roualet, president of General Dynamics Land Systems, stated, “The Force Dynamics partnership is a key competitive strength in this contest, as we have the advantage of having worked together to successfully mobilize rapidly to deliver under the MRAP program. General Dynamics Land Systems has a 65 year history of providing high quality products to the U.S. and its allies and will apply our strengths of program and supply chain management, and systems engineering and integration with our partner Force Protection to ensure the success of the M-ATV program.”
The Force Dynamics joint venture combines Force Protection’s creative engineering expertise with General Dynamics Land Systems’ extensive production capabilities. The partnership ensures that the Cheetah can be produced at whatever production quantity and schedule is requested by TACOM and that ongoing engineering changes and fleet sustainment requirements can be fully met. The joint venture to date has successfully delivered over 3,000 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Category I and Category II vehicles under the MRAP program. These MRAPs have withstood literally thousands of IED and mine attacks and are credited with saving soldiers’ lives.