By Ann Roosevelt

General Dynamics [GD] Ordnance and Tactical Systems, and Marvin Group’s Flyer Defense LLC are ready to offer their Flyer tactical vehicle in pursuit of the Air Force Guardian Angel Air-Deployable Rescue Vehicle (GAARV) program, an official said.

Flyer is an “advanced version of the light strike vehicle we have now, which can carry much more payload” than current vehicles, Sean Ridley, Flyer program manager, said at a recent Army conference.

Flyer is aimed at filling gaps in fixed and rotary ground mobility deployment requiring a lightweight, mobile, air-transportable vehicle, Ridley said.

The Air Force request for information on the GAARV issued this spring explained it wants “an air-deployable, surface recovery platform capable of maneuvering over adverse terrain to search for and recover isolated personnel and/or equipment, while also providing the capability of transporting the recovery team and the IP from an area of high threat to a defendable location for recovery by aircraft or self recovery to the final destination.”

The Flyer search and rescue variant would fit the GAARV requirement, Ridley said. General Dynamics and Flyer Defense are also pursing the Air Force Special Operations unfunded requirement for a V-22 Internally Transportable Vehicle (ITV), which could mean the unarmored light strike vehicle variant.

Force Protection Inc.’s [FRPT] Joint All-Terrain Modular Mobility Asset (JAMMA) also is ready and aimed at the GAARV competition. JAMMA also could fulfill special operations requirements for the United States and worldwide.

The GAARV RFP is expected early in the new year, with an award toward the end of Fiscal Year 2011. The requirement would be for a vehicle to be transported by V-22.

The Guardian Angel will require such things as blood coolers, and extra power to support equipment for the medical recovery variant, Ridley said.

Flyer Defense makes one base vehicle common to both the armored and unarmored versions. The platform supports configuration variants including rescue and recovery, reconnaissance, C4ISR and communications. The tactical vehicle would be delivered as a complete package, and it would be delivered with everything, Ridley said.

General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Solutions integrates the vehicle. Working in partnership with Ceradyne Inc. [CRDN], the armored Flyer incorporates an armored cab with four armored doors, armored rear cargo area and roofline. The vehicle is engineered to take various levels of armor.

Flyer can be rapidly reconfigured for a variety of missions, and meets all internal transport requirements for the V-22, Ridley said. The tactical vehicle can be carried internally or externally by the V-22, CH-53D, C-130 and C-5, CH-47D externally on UH-60L

Flyer offers a 3,500-pound payload and with a top speed of 85 mph and cruising range of 450 miles.

There is a 90-percent commonality between the armored and unarmored vehicles. Flyer uses 80 percent commercial off the shelf items, most now in the U.S. inventory, Ridley said.

For example, the power train is COTS, the suspension is in the inventory and a COTS camera in the rear. “We tried to take what’s out there…trying to make a complete vehicle with as many options as we can using what’s out there, Ridley said. In addition, there’s a common mechanics tool kit, with some special tools that can be carried.

Flyer could use hybrid in the future, he said. “We’re looking at it.”

“We’re trying to take the vehicle and market it, finish the remaining testing, supporting user evaluations and helping to refine requirements,” Ridley said.

The C4ISR variant on display at a recent Army conference offered a C4I integrated bridge system, sniper shot detection, blue force tracking, unmanned aerial vehicle video download and GPS.