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21 May 15. UK Project Westley heats up. The UK’s project Westley, the Requirement for 50 lightweight C47F transportable lightweight all-terrain vehicles saw developments during SOFIC. The contenders who are believed to have submitted PQQs and passed are Boeing (with Ricardo?) with Phantom Badger, Polaris UK with DAGOR, Jankel with a Jeep product, GDUK with the GD OTS Flyer 72, chosen for the US GMV 1.1 Program, MIRA with a vehicle yet to be confirmed and Supacat. Navistar told BATTLESPACE that its SOTV-B vehicle had been ruled out as it was too wide for air transportability. The Netherlands has a similar Requirement.
21 May 15. (FRES) 8×8 coming back into the picture? Sources at SOFIC told BATTLESPACE that the Requirement for a UK 8×8 vehicle, formerly FRES U, was coming back into prominence due to studies over operational requirements in Eastern Europe which require fast maneuvers on metalled roads. The usual suspects are in the frame although the recent win by GDELS in Denmark over the NEXTER VBCI in particular will place Piranha 5 well in the frame particularly with the infrastructure now being established for SV. VBCI has yet to find a customer outside France.
20 May 15. USMC Eyes Options for Light Vehicle. As the US Marine Corps returns to its expeditionary roots, it is planning a safety and reliability upgrade — and a possible replacement — for its internally transportable vehicle (ITV), designed to fit in an MV-22 Osprey. The efforts dovetail with higher demand in operations and the service’s Expeditionary Force 21 concept, which emphasizes lighter forces, such as its quick-reaction Marine expeditionary units (MEUs), a Corps official said. When the last dozen or so MEUs have deployed, each has brought as many as 20 ITVs with them.
“Dispersed company operations are our way forward, and with this platform we are finding, with the infantry community, a desire to reduce the load they’re carrying on their backs,” said Mark Godfrey, transportation branch chief at the Marine Corps’ logistics division and capabilities integration directorate.
The efforts also run parallel with US Special Operations Command’s effort to develop an Osprey-transportable vehicle. This fall, the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory is conducting a limited objective experiment and a limited technical assessment to define the need and find vehicles that could fill it. Though originally designed for light-strike missions, such a vehicle is also considered a contender for logistics and casualty evacuation missions. The machine, or machines, are envisioned as readily available at an affordable price, particularly as the Marine Corps prioritizes its Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV). The ACV, in development now, is expected to eat a significant chunk of the service’s budget when it is fielded, Godfrey said. The Corps is in talks with 12 vendors whose vehicles can fit inside a V-22 to participate in the technical assessment at the Nevada Automotive Test Center. The limited objective experiment will involve an infantry company in an exercise set for Camp Pendleton and Fort Hunter Liggett in California. These efforts mark something of a comeback for the ITV. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan saw a reluctance to use a vehicle without armor to protect it from roadside bombs. Intended for the infantry, ITVs were fielded primarily to the reconnaissance, Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command and artillery communities. When the last of the vehicles was purchased and fielded in 2010, the requirement had been pared from 750 to 266, with another 145 “prime mover” variants, which carry a 120mm mortar. These M1161 and M1163 Growlers were originally manufactured by American Growler in 2004 and subsequently bought out by General Dynamics.
“The fielding was a bit of bad timing because we we