General Dynamics [GD] and Flyer Defense are preparing their lightweight Flyer vehicle for a new Army competition: the Ultra Lightweight Combat Vehicle (ULCV).
GD Program Manager for Lightweight Tactical Vehicles Sean Ridley said the competition would likely kick off in the first quarter of 2015.
A potential competitor on such a program would be the Polaris Defense’s DAGOR, a recently unveiled ULCV.
GD would offer another in its Flyer family of vehicles.
This Flyer 72 variant would need to carry a nine-man squad and its gear. It would also need to meet a curb weight of 4,500 pounds to be light enough to be sling-loaded by a UH-60 Black Hawk or carried internally by a CH-47 Chinook.
U.S. Special Operations Command has already bought several Flyer 60 vehicles and, in August 2013, the company was awarded the SOCOM Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV) 1.1 vehicle contract. This vehicle is the Flyer 72 derived from the Flyer 60. GMV 1.1 work could encompass as many as 1,300 vehicles.
“We took all the SOF-unique components off the Flyer 72 to meet the weight and demonstrate it,” for a ULCV, Ridley said.
“We’ve taken that same Flyer 72 in response to an Army Light Reconnaissance requirement, using an armor package and a medium caliber weapon, a lightweight 30 mm weapon,” he said.
“If the two programs come to fruition, it will save a considerable amount of money,” he said.
Using a common base vehicle—such as the GMV1.1, which is a program of record–“there are no development costs [because] the Army is buying into a family of vehicles,” Ridley said.
The SOF GMV 1.1 vehicle changes configuration using different kits that bolt on and off. That means there is nothing to change for the Flyer 72, just taking off the SOF kits.
It is not a one-shot deal or one-mission vehicle, Ridley said.
The family of vehicles share a common logistics base, and there’s no special support package associated with each vehicle. Commonality among vehicles also drives sustainment costs down.
The SOCOM GMV 1.1 is in the pre-Milestone C stage, building Low Rate Initial Production vehicles that will be delivered in the mid to end of next year, Ridley said. In December, he said delivery starts for the first nine production-representative qualification testing vehicles.
“It’s a very aggressive program,” Ridley said.
The plan currently is for the LRIP program to produce 74 vehicles, and in 2016 to move to full-rate production of 200 vehicles per year.
GD has started marketing the Flyers internationally.
There has been a lot of interest because the base vehicle can be configured with the country-specific kits.