General Dynamics seeks deal for military vehicle developed at Charleston-area plant
The defense giant that acquired Summerville-based Force Protection Inc. last year is in the hunt to build a new tactical vehicle for the U.S. military.
General Dynamics Land Systems said Thursday it has submitted a formal proposal to participate in the U.S. Special Operations Command’s Ground Mobility Vehicle program.
The Sterling Heights-based company filed its bid with the defense unit’s headquarters in Tampa, Fla. A sample vehicle was delivered on May 30.
Special Operations Command plans to buy up to 1,300 high-speed tactical transports under its so-called GMV 1.1 program, but it has not yet picked a supplier.
A contract is expected to be awarded by January, with production ending in mid-2020.
General Dynamics said its submittal was designed and developed primarily at the former Force Protection manufacturing plant on U.S. Highway 78 in Ladson.
“The ... vehicle is optimized to increase operator and occupant protection and survivability,” the company said in a written statement. “It meets the diverse and challenging missions that special operations demand, including transportability, mobility, modularity and technology.”
General Dynamics has not yet assigned a name for the vehicle, which can reach speeds of 90 mph and carry at least five passengers.
It is designed be transported on cargo planes and helicopters.
The vehicle features a center-mounted engine that provides “optimal weight distribution on the ground and inside an aircraft,” General Dynamics said. “It is a mission-ready, high performance vehicle that can be driven off an aircraft ready for use.”
The company also said the modular design enables troops to quickly reconfigure the vehicle based on the terrain and other local conditions.
Force Protection and General Dynamics Land Systems have been testing the truck for about two years at the Army’s Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona and at the Nevada Automotive Test Center. It also underwent summer trials in the United Arab Emirates.
Force Protection played a key role in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with its armored V-hulled troop transports that are designed to withstand mine blasts. Its vehicle models include the Buffalo, the Cougar and the smaller Ocelot.
General Dynamics Corp, bought the company for $360 million in December and folded the business into its Land Systems unit.
Contact John P. McDermott at 937-5572.