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Posts Tagged ‘Force Protection’

GD Buys FPI

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Chances are good that if you’ve got any time around MRAPs you know Force Protection, Inc. General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS) has agreed to pay $5.52 per share of common stock for a total of about $360 million to purchase FPI. This move isn’t really that surprising as for the last five years GDLS and FPI have partnered in the production of the Cougar. However, considering that both the Army and Marine Corps have discussed curtailing their MRAP buys, the timing seems somewhat late.

Conversely, this move does help GD further corner the US armored vehicle market. Already, they manufacture both the Abrams main battle tank and Stryker infantry combat vehicle. Additionally, as you may recall, FPI developed the JAMMA for use as a SOF Internally Transportable Vehicle. With GMVS 1.1 in full swing, this move may help strengthen the case for the JAMMA.

“Force Protection complements and strategically expands General Dynamics’ armored vehicle business, adding new products to the expansive portfolio of combat vehicles that we currently manufacture and support,” said Mark C. Roualet, president of General Dynamics Land Systems. “In addition, Force Protection’s skilled workforce provides high-quality support and sustainment services to an installed fleet of approximately 3,000 vehicles, strengthening our ability to support assets deployed with U.S. forces around the world. With this acquisition, we will create new opportunities to serve domestic and international customers alike.”

Michael Moody, chairman and chief executive officer of Force Protection, Inc., commented, “After careful consideration of the strategic direction of Force Protection, our board decided that a sale to General Dynamics would maximize value for our stockholders. With their armored vehicle business, General Dynamics will be able to pursue opportunities that we could not have pursued as a stand-alone company. As part of the General Dynamics family, our innovative products and offerings will continue to provide militaries worldwide critical assets that save troops’ lives.”

www.forceprotection.net

The JAMMA from Force Protection

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Looks-wise, it kind of reminds me of an old DUKW that mated with a Mazda pickup but it’s something altogether different. The new Joint All-Terrain Modular Mobility Asset (JAMMA) from Force Protection (think Cougar MRAP) is a lightweight mobility asset. While they are keeping many of the specs close to the vest, as you can see it features a unique roll over protection system and can be fitted with an optional state-of-the-art hybrid, multi-fuel engine that generates 22kW of continuous exportable power. Currently, Utility, Gun Truck, and Rescue variants have been configured but the architecture of the design allows for multiple other uses. Additionally, it is fitted with an electric winch, on-board air compressor, open electrical architecture for the fitting of specialized equipment, as well as a built in armor attachment system for the fitting of scalable armor panels to correspond to various threats.

SOCOM is on the lookout for a new Ground Mobility Vehicle System (ver 1.1) to replace their HMMWV-based trucks currently in service. Keep your eyes peeled for it to kick off in September. Consequently, SOFIC was packed with mobility systems.

While the SOCOM requirement is for an MH47 compatible vehicle, the JAMMA even fits (just barely) in a V22 Osprey. This is becuase it is offered in both wide (MH47) and narrow (CV22) track versions.

The search for a V22-compatible Internally Transportable Vehicle (ITV) with sufficient range and load capacity for SOF use has been an ongoing issue since the 90s. The search for this mythical beast still lives on as a joint requirement for both SOCOM and USMC. The problem is the cabin size of the V22. When the tilt-rotor was first envisioned it was expected to replace one-for-one, every CH46 in the Marine Corps inventory. The USMC as lead service wrote a requirement based on the CH46, giving it the same cabin size and cargo capacity as the Sea Knight. When the CH46 was designed they still used JEEPs. However, in the 30 odd years the Osprey spent in development hell, the US military mothballed the M151 JEEP due to its limited cargo capacity and propensity to roll over thanks to a narrow wheel base. The V22 was perfect for a JEEP but nothing with a wide enough stance to remain stable while maneuvering under fire would fit. The search remains with all forms of expandable wheel bases and crouching suspensions attempting to fill the requirement. As of yet, nothing that fits in the CV22 (SOCOM will eventually own 50) seems to fill the rest of SOCOM’s unique needs.

The Marine Corps is pretty much in the same boat although they have purchased a more modern variant of the venerable JEEP called the Growler that features an active suspension for use as their ITV. The Growler began life as a prime mover for the Expeditionary Fire Support System and has been procured in limited numbers by the Marines. Unfortunately, it takes several minutes of prep time in order to configure it for the tight squeeze into the rear of an Osprey.

Force Protection has been applying lessons learned from their production of larger vehicles into the development of the JAMMA. The transportation infrastructure in Afghanistan is very limited, and what is there cannot be used by heavily armored vehicles. It is imperative that smaller and lighter vehicles are developed for this type of terrain.

www.forceprotection.net