Armored vehicle and vetronics project advances; M-ATV contract expected by July

WARREN, Mich., 3 May 2009. U.S. Army officials last week took another step toward equipping its forces with an armored vehicle and vetronics that is light and maneuverable enough for off-road use in Afghanistan, but is rugged enough to survive blasts from improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

WARREN, Mich., 3 May 2009. U.S. Army officials last week took another step toward equipping its forces with an armored vehicle and associated vetronics that is light and maneuverable enough for off-road use in Afghanistan, but is rugged enough to survive blasts from improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) in Warren, Mich., is awarding contracts to four armored vehicle manufacturers to provide test and evaluation versions of the MRAP All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) -- a relatively small and maneuverable version of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, otherwise known as MRAP.

U.S. Department of Defense officials say the M-ATV, also know as MRAP-Light, will be light and nimble enough to operate in the rugged terrain of Afghanistan, where the full-size MRAP vehicle might not be able to do the job.

The full-size MRAP was designed for Iraq where IED roadside bombs have been a continuing threat. The full-size MRAP vehicle primarily comes from armored vehicles manufacturers Navistar International Military Group in Warrenville, Ill.; Force Protection Inc. in Ladson, S.C.; and BAE Systems in Santa Clara, Calif.

Other manufacturers of the full-size MRAP vehicle include General Dynamics Land Systems in Sterling Heights, Mich.; Oshkosh Corp. in Oshkosh, Wis.; and Protected Vehicles Inc. in Summerville, S.C.

Army contracts for M-ATV prototype test vehicles are going to BAE Systems, Oshkosh Corp., Navistar International; and Force Dynamics LLC, a joint venture of Force Protection and General Dynamics Land Systems.

U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) officials say they plan to award a winner-take-all contract to one of the vendors, the statement said. The DOD plans to buy 2,080 to 10,000 of the new M-ATVs.

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