Tuesday, June 1, 2010

M-ATV: A Win, at Last, for Oshkosh

“The Government plans to acquire an MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV). The M-ATV is a lighter, off-road, and more maneuverable vehicle that incorporates current MRAP level [bullet and mine blast] protection. The M-ATV will require effectiveness in an off-road mission profile. The vehicle will include EFP (Explosively Formed Projectile land mine) and RPG protection (integral or removable kit). The M-ATV will maximize both protection levels and off-road mobility & maneuverability attributes, and must balance the effects of size and weight while attempting to achieve the stated requirements.”
  —US government FedBizOpps, November 2008

Oshkosh Defense’s M-ATV candidate secured a long-denied MRAP win, and the firm continues to remain ahead of production targets. The initial plan expected to spend up to $3.3 billion to order 5,244 M-ATVs for the US Army (2,598), Marine Corps (1,565), Special Operations Command (643), US Air Force (280) and the Navy (65), plus 93 test vehicles. FY 2010 budgets and purchases have pushed this total even higher, and orders now stand at over 8,000…

MRAP ATV: Requirements and Contenders


Monthly delivery rates of up to 1,000 vehicles were part of the solicitation; when combined with requirements around classified data and regulatory compliance, the only reasonable contenders were firms that already produced MRAPs, trucks, or tactical vehicles for American forces: BAE Systems, General Dynamics, Force Protection, Navistar, and Oshkosh.

M-ATV vehicles will hold 4 passengers, including the driver, and a gunner. That seems very similar to the MRAP Category I vehicles, and it is. On the other hand, a WIRED Danger Room story noted:

“As Captain Charles O’Neill, commander of B Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, told me, a few of the MRAPs had “gone into the wadi” – i.e., rolled over – during operations in Helmand. “The MRAP is an outstanding vehicle for force protection,” he said. “It would do great on paved roads. However, here in southern Helmand province, the roads don’t facilitate the MRAP necessarily that well.”

One option has involved refitting existing MRAP vehicles. Over 1,300 of Force Protection’s Cougars will receive Oshkosh TAK-4 independent suspensions, which are already in use on the Marines’ MTVR trucks, in order to improve their all-terrain handling. 

ELEC LRAS and Sniper Torres Fallujah Kill
The other response was the M-ATV competition, which aims to field a vehicle with an (empty equipped) curb weight under 25,000 pounds, and the protection and mobility characteristics described above. That’s still considerably heavier than a Hummer; the ubiquitous M1114 maxes out at 12,000 pounds with its add-on armor, and the top of M-ATV’s range is similar to a number of MRAP Category I contenders’ curb weights. Its mission is small unit combat operations in highly restricted, rural, mountainous and/or urban environments. 

M-ATVs will be used for mounted patrols, reconnaissance, security, convoy protection, communications, command and control and combat service support. To that end, it will be qualified for fit out with a variety of equipment, from LRAS3 surveillance and targeting systems, to accompanying ROVER IV systems for working with UAV video feeds and TacAir support, to TOW ITAS anti-armor missiles, to CREW frequency jammers as land-mine protection, to Boomerang or Doubleshot anti-sniper systems, to CROWS II remote weapons systems, as required.

A number of firms competed. Dave Hansen of JPO MRAP says that the initial competition involved about 10 candidates, which was narrowed down during source selection. Some known candidates include:


BAE’s Global Tactical Systems division submitted a model that is based on their Caiman Light MRAP, which in turn is based on the Army’s standard FMTV medium trucks. GTS M-ATV includes a number of changes, most notably a smaller crew compartment and a lengthened “nose” to provide better balance.

BAE U.S. Combat Systems’ M-ATV looks somewhat like its Valanx JLTV entry, but has greater protection levels, with a smaller and more protected crew capsule purpose-built to M-ATV requirements. The Arvin-Meritor suspension, the drive train, and the power train are shared with their Valanx, as is the 6 liter V8 engine.


Force Protection teamed with General Dynamics to submit their Cheetah vehicle, which has been in development since 2005. The Cheetah has been evaluated by the US Marines, and had a curb weight of just 14,000 pounds when introduced. Subsequent variants have reportedly passed sponsored Army testing to MRAP I survivability levels, and has undergone initial mobility and durability testing at the Nevada Automotive Test Center. The Cheetah was a new addition for Force Dynamics, which had previously been confined to producing the Cougar vehicles that did so much to spark the MRAP program.

Force Dynamics, LLC added Raytheon to their team, in order to provide a comprehensive command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system (C4ISR) plug-and-play ready architecture for the M-ATV Cheetah, using the C4ISR Department of Defense Architecture Framework (DoDAF). It would allow plug-and-play integration of a wide range of Army electronics, while also improving the vehicles’ monitoring capabilities.

Husky TSV at DVD 2009

General Dynamics Land Systems attempted to field a variant of the RG-31. This vehicle, offered in partnership with BAE and the Canadian government, had been ordered by American units before the MRAP program began, received additional MRAP orders, and reportedly earned good reviews for its Afghan performance. GDLS initial 2 M-ATV prototypes were not accepted for testing, however leaving General Dynamics with its Force Dynamics partnership as its only M-ATV option. Its partnership with Hummer manufacturer AM General remains intact for the JLTV, and that partnership did not field an M-ATV candidate.

Navistar led the MRAP competition, and submitted an M-ATV design based on the MXT/Husky design that won one of Britain’s OUVS orders for future Tactical Support Vehicles. Their derived M-ATV prototype used a specially-designed, light-weight armor. That advantage is compounded by a smaller base that allows them to weigh significantly less than its MaxxPro Dash MRAP, while using the same MaxxForce D 6.0 liter V8 engine. 

Navistar would be able to support its M-ATV units in theater through its existing dealer and parts and support network, which includes locations in Afghanistan.

MTVR Up-armored PS
MTVR + PS armor

Oshkosh Defense had far less success to build on. In the MRAP competition, its PVI partnership entry for MRAP Category I failed testing, while its Bushmaster partnership with Thales for MRAP Category II received no orders, despite a successful record of front line service with Australian and Dutch forces. Its JLTV entry with Northrop Grumman was not among the initial round’s 3 picks, even as BAE participated in 2 of the winning entries, General Dynamics in one, and Navistar in one. A GAO protest failed to change that outcome, despite an attractive price for their entry. It had been a surprising series of setbacks for the firm that produces and supports the US Army’s FHTV heavy truck fleet, and the US Marines’ MTVR medium and LVSR heavy trucks.

The firm elected to submit a design that bears many visual similarities to their JLTV entry, but without the high-end systems like a hybrid drive, which would have required further development. The core of the vehicle is the MTVR medium truck chassis and its TAK-4 suspension. TAK-4 is being used to refit Cougar MRAPs, and already exceeds M-ATV’s off road specifications by offering a 70% off road mobility profile (M-ATV: 50%) and more than 16 inches of independent wheel travel. An Oshkosh representative told DID that “generally speaking [TAK-4] will increase the speed of the vehicle by 1.5 – 2.5 times over the speed of the same vehicle with a straight axle suspension without sacrificing ride quality.” The vehicle’s Super Multi-Hit Armor Technology (SMART) armor is used in theater by NATO, and its C7 engine is currently used in more than 18,000 vehicles fielded in Iraq and Afghanistan. The vehicle has an empty “curb weight” of 25,000 pounds, and a Gross Vehicle Weight of 32,500 pounds, including the M-ATV objective maximum of 4,000 pounds of payload.

Northrop Grumman was not a partner for M-ATV, but Oshkosh did leverage its long-standing relationship with Plasan Sasa of Israel to develop an armoring approach that could meet full MRAP protection levels. Plasan Sasa had up-armored Oshkosh’s MTVR trucks for the Marines, and was also Navistar’s armoring partner for the successful MaxxPro MRAP family.

M-ATV Ambulance

At present, their winning entry is known only as the “Oshkosh M-ATV”. It now comes in 3 variants.

The M-ATV utility variant adds a flatbed to the basic M-ATV, and is suitable for light cargo duties in dangerous areas that need a lot of off-road travel. The M-ATV tactical ambulance variant maintains the M-ATV’s TAK-4 independent suspension systems, 16” of independent wheel travel with a 2-channel central tire-inflation system with 4 terrain settings. It uses a 370hp engine, with an Allison 3500 SP transmission, and seats 3 crew members plus 2 litters or 4 ambulatory patients. Feedback from the military led to a side-by-side litter layout.

By winning the competition, Oshkosh has secured 3 valuable prizes. One is significant representation in the USA’s MRAP-type buys, with its attendant near-term cash flow. The second prize is a success story in the tactical vehicle category, something Oshkosh has not been known for in the past. The 3rd prize stems from the other 2, and involves the JLTV competition that will follow M-ATV to replace a sizeable portion of the USA’s Hummer fleet. Since JLTV is designed as an open competition at each stage, the Oshkosh/Northrop Grumman team’s loss in round 1 just forces Oshkosh to spend its own development dollars if it wants to remain in the race. By securing the M-ATV tactical vehicle design win and attendant production funding, those improvements and investments become much easier to make.

Contracts and Key Events

M-ATV on the right, HMMWV at left

Under the M-ATV program, each competitor submitted 2 vehicles for initial testing, and some received a 2nd order for 3 more test vehicles. That was followed by a sole source contract, which could escalate to 10,000 vehicles.

Unless otherwise noted, Oshkosh Corp. in Oshkosh, WI is the contractor, taking orders from the U.S. Army Tank and Automotive Command Contracting Command in Warren, MI.

May 19/10: Oshkosh formally unveils a new M-ATV variant, the M-ATV tactical ambulance, at the AUSA 2010 Army Medical Symposium and Exposition in San Antonio. TX.

May 19/10: $93.2 million in firm-fixed-price contract orders for another 2,401 M-ATV protection kits, designed to defend against the basic rocket propelled grenade anti-tank weapons that are common in Afghanistan.

The day’s announcements divide the purchase into a $21.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for another 554 kits, and $71.7 million for another 1,847 kits. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of May 31/12. TACOM, CCTA-ADCA in Warren, MI solicited 5 bids, with 5 bids received (W56HZV-09-D-0111).

April 27/10: Oshkosh Defense announces a pair of awards for more than $19 million from the U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC), to provide in-theater support for MRAP All-Terrain Vehicles (M-ATV) in Afghanistan. The $9.3 million April 9/10 award for 29 Field Service Representatives, and the announcement implies a similar 2nd award, as it describes “an additional 60 Oshkosh field service representatives (FSR) that will provide support in Afghanistan through May 2011.” 

The US Army announces M-ATV related technology experiments, as part of its Brigade Combat Team Modernization Increment 1 fielding program:

“The U.S. Army has outfitted a handful of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected, more commonly referred to as MRAP, vehicles with Network Integration Kits designed to give the bomb-defeating vehicles the ability to share real-time information such as sensor data from robots and UAVs while on-the-move in combat…. To date, five M-ATVs, and six MRAPs have been outfitted with NIKs, Army officials said; The MRAPs with NIKs will deploy to Afghanistan with the first unit equipped with Increment 1 technologies…. The NIKs, now being built onto MRAPs and M-ATVs at Fort Bliss, Texas, are engineered with technology that can receive and distribute data, voice, video and images across the force using multiple high bandwidth waveforms; they consist of software-programmable Joint Tactical Radio Systems (JTRS) such as the Ground Mobile Radios (GMR), a”dual-enclave” Integrated Computer System (ICS) built to handle classified and unclassified information, and a Blue Force Tracking display screen. The software and operating systems are connected through use of a middle ware called System of Systems Common Operating Environment (SOSCOE).... The networked MRAPs and M-ATVs will particpate in a large scale test later this year.”

April 20/10: An $11.1 million “firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of 1,037 Remote Weapon System / Crew Remote Operated Weapons System final production configuration for the Mine Resistant Ambush All Terrain Vehicle.”

What this actually means is that they’re paying Oshkosh Defense to set their M-ATV patrol vehicles up so that everything is in place to accept a CROWS remotely-operated gun system: power, electronic interlinks, structural support, etc. The CROWS systems themselves are provided independently, as Government-Furnished Equipment. US Army TACOM in Warren, MI says that 5 bids were solicited, with 5 bids received (W56HZV-09-D-0111). 

April 14/10: A $68.7 million firm-fixed-price contract for 1,770 rocket propelled grenade protection kits. Oshkosh will install these kits on the production lines, and the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) will install the kits on previously delivered vehicles. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of May 31/12. Five bids were solicited with 5 bids received by US Army TACOM, CCTA-ADCA in Warren, MI (W56HZV-09-D-0111). 

April 9/10: A $9.3 million firm-fixed-price contract covers 29 field service representatives and 348 person-months of M-ATV services to support Afghan operations. Work will be complete in May 31/12. Five bids were solicited with 5 bids received (W56HZV-09-D-0111). 

March 26/10: A $41.9 million firm-fixed-price contract for 1,080 rocket propelled grenade protection kits. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of May 31/12. Five bids were solicited with 5 bids received by US Army TACOM, AMSCC-ASCA in Warren, MI (W56HZV-09-D-0111).

March 26/10: BAE Systems announces a $45 million multi-year contract to provide Oshkosh with Check-6 rear-view camera lights to equip 2,399 M-ATVs. See Dec 29/09 entry for the original contract.

March 10/10: Oshkosh Corp. in Oshkosh, WI receives a $10.4 million firm-fixed-price contract for 1,401 M-ATV RWS kits that will let the vehicles support CROWS remote weapon systems. CROWS systems pack advanced sensors and machine guns, and can be controlled from inside the vehicle using a joystick and screen.

Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of May 31/12. TACOM, CCTA-ADCA in Warren, MI solicited 5 bids, with 5 bids received (W56HZV-09-D-0111). 

March 5/10: Oshkosh Defense announces 3 awards valued at more than $35 million in total for M-ATV upgrades and in-theater support. 

They include 2 awards totaling more than 6,400 M-ATV Self Protection Adaptive Roller Kits (SPARKS) upgraded interface brackets. The brackets allow soldiers to attach advance mine rollers to the vehicles. The US government has requested changes to SPARKS, and the new brackets will allow the upgraded systems to be fitted on M-ATVs. Upgrade kits will be shipped to the Defense Distribution Depot Red River in Texarkana, TX, in June 2010. The government will then ship the brackets to receiving units in theater for installation. 

Those installations will be supported by an expanded roster of field service representatives (FSR) in-theater. A 3rd contract will place 18 additional Oshkosh in Afghanistan, and 6 in Iraq, at bases that require them. U.S. Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) manages these contracts.

Feb 24/10: Oshkosh unveils 2 new M-ATV variants at the AUSA 2010 convention: an ambulance variant, and a utility variant designed to haul cargo. 

Feb 23/10: A $640 million contract for 1,460 M-ATVs. Oshkosh says it has received awards valued at more than $4.74 bilion for 8,079 M-ATVs, as well as spare parts kits and aftermarket in-theater support.
Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, WI with an estimated completion date of May 2012. Five bids were solicited with 5 bids received (W56HZV-09-D-0111).

Israel’s Plasan secured a $170 million subcontract from Oshkosh to supply vehicle protection kits for the 1,460 M-ATVs, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports. The subcontract brings to 5,000 the number of vehicles Plasan has armored for the Americans since June 2009, for total revenues of $586 million. All told, Plasan has sold $940 million worth of armor kits to the U.S. military, for 8,079 vehicles. 

Feb 19/10: A $52.1 million firm-fixed-price contract for 1,451 retrofit kits for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance suite and battery upgrade/silent watch. Oshkosh says the total potential order is more than 2,090 upgrade kits, which will include communications hardware, jammer systems, tracking technology, driver vision enhancement for safer operation at night, and the aforementioned “silent watch” capability.

The latter item points to an ongoing issue with advanced long range day/night sensors in overwatch roles, and modern communications gear. They often consume so much power that engines have to be kept running, just to power all of the electronics. That’s fuel-expensive, in a theater where it takes $7 in fuel to deliver $1 worth to the front lines. It also tends to remove tactical surprise in key situations, especially in already-difficult urban terrain.

Work is to be performed in Ishkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of May 31/12. Five bids were solicted with 5 bids received by TACOM in Warren, MI (W56HZV-09-D-0111). 

Feb 5/10: A $84.7 million firm-fixed-price contract for the partial exercise of the option for 627 M-ATV explosively formed penetrator (EFP) kits. The Oshkosh-supplied kits will include EFP armor to protect against those shaped-charge land mines, base door armor, and a door-assist mechanism. 

Delivery of the kits is expected to begin in April 2010, and be complete by the end of August 2010. The add-on armor kits will include EFP armor, base door armor and a door-assist mechanism.
Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, WI with an estimated completion date of May 31/12. 5 bids were solicited with 5 bids received (W56HZV-09-D-0111). 

Jan 25/10: Oshkosh announces 2 delivery orders valued at $325.7 million from the U.S. Army TACOM LCMC to supply spare parts and repair kits for the MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV). Deliveries are expected to begin in August 2010, and to be complete by the end of January 2011. DefenseLINK breaks down the orders as:

A $258.2 million firm-fixed-price contract to exercise the option for 90 lots of authorized stockage list kits, 90 lots of prescribed load list kits, 23 each deprocessing spare kits, and 132 lots battle damage repair kits for the M-ATV. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, WI (50%) and McConnellsburg, PA, with an estimated completion date of May 31/12. Five bids were solicited with 5 bids received by TACOM, CCTA-ADC-A in Warren, MI (W56HZV-09-D-0111).

A $67.5 million firm-fixed-price contract for a partial exercise of an option: 2 lots of authorized stockage list kits, 2 lots of prescribed load list kits, and 65 lots of battle damage repair kits for the M-ATV. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, WI (50%) and McConnellsburg, PA, with an estimated completion date of May 31/12. Five bids were solicited with 5 bids received by TACOM, CCTA-ADC-A in Warren, MI (W56HZV-09-D-0111). 

To date, Oshkosh says it has received awards valued at more than $3.9 billion to deliver 6,619 M-ATVs, as well as spare kits and aftermarket in-theater support.

Jan 21/10: Oshkosh announces 4 awards from the US Defense Logistics Agency, valued at $89 million, for its M-ATVs and FHTV heavy trucks.

Oshkosh will supply M-ATV spare parts, including engines, transmissions, transfer cases and alternators. Work under the orders is expected to be completed by October 2010. Oshkosh is providing the M-ATV’s spare parts to the DLA to be used as in-the-field replacements after the original vehicle parts have been consumed. These parts will ship without delay, to help maintain readiness rates in theater. Discussions with Oshkosh representatives indicate that the M-ATV orders are worth about $50 million.

Jan 6/10: Harris Corp.’s RF Communications Division in Rochester, NY received orders totaling $119 million to supply Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS)-approved Falcon III AN/PRC-152-C handheld radios with the RF-5980-SA001 vehicle amplifier adapters for the Mine Resistent Ambush Protected (MRAP) all-terrain vehicle (M-ATV). 

Separate contracts for items like these help illustrate what is meant by the term “government furnished equipment.” The AN/PRC-152 [PDF] provides M-ATV users with multiband Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS) and Demand Assigned Multiple Access (DAMA) satellite communications interoperability in the 30-512 MHz frequency bands. It is just one aspect of the communication suite that equips each M-ATV.

Jan 6/10: At a Pentagon press conference, Press Secretary Geoff Morrell provides an update regarding the M-ATV program. He says that higher-capacity sealift options aren’t being considered for getting M-ATVs that currently sit in the USA into Afghanistan (via Karachi or Gwadar, Pakistan, then overland), even though the drawdown from Iraq and surge to Afghanistan are straining available transport capacity:

“We are at now, as of January the 5th – and I want to double-check these – we were at 239 [M-ATVs] delivered, 164 fielded, 12 awaiting transport. And then there are obviously many more vehicles than that that have been produced. And as they vie for space for airlift and absorption in Afghanistan, they are being used, many of them, for training purposes domestically. 

But we are now, as we are in the midst of this surge, going to be dealing with this herculean effort of trying to get not just 30,000 additional forces over to Afghanistan, but getting all their equipment as well. So this is going to be a real—a real test of our TRANSCOM [Transportation Command] folks, as well as CENTCOM. And they have a priority list based, you know, in terms of space available, what has the top priority to flow in at what time.

I can tell you this. It’s our goal that come this spring, we’ll be sending over about 500 a month.

Q. So when would sealift begin? Is it this—

MR. MORRELL: I couldn’t – no, I don’t think we would do – I don’t think we’re at the point where we’d do sealift, but we can check on that for you.”

Oshkosh M-ATV
Afghan winter delivery

Dec 29/09: Oshkosh Corp. in Oshkosh, WI receives a $33.9 million firm-fixed-price contract. This contract is for a change order modification for 2,277 Check-6 rear view sensor systems, to be fitted to M-ATV vehicles. BAE’s Check-6 tail-light duplicates a feature found in some civilian cars, which uses a rear camera to show the rear of the vehicle and objects behind it on a screen. Unlike civilian camera-screen combinations, however, Check-6 tail lights are derived from BAE Systems’ expertise with weapon sights. They work in infrared as well as visible light, making them useful for noticing people as well as obstacles, and improving awareness in darkness, sandstorms, and other difficult situations. They install as a complete tail-light assembly, and require no drilling or welding.

Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, WI (50%), and McConnellsburg, PA (50%), with an estimated contract completion date of May 31/12. Work is actually expected to begin in March 2010, and be complete in May 2010. Five bids were solicited, with 5 bids received by TACOM, AMSCC-TAC-ADCA in Warren, MI (W56HZV-09-D-0111). 

Dec 28/09: Ceradyne in Costa Mesa, CA announces that it received a multi-million dollar blanket purchase order from Plasan Sasa Ltd. in Israel for the production of armor components for the MRAP All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV). Ceradyne plans to produce these parts in its expanded armor assembly plant in Irvine, CA for delivery to prime contractor Oshkosh to assemble the components and deliver the M-ATV to the government. 

All manufacturing procedures for these M-ATV components have been approved, and Ceradyne production commenced this month. It is anticipated that production and delivery will continue throughout 2010. 

Dec 24/09: Oshkosh receives a maximum $22.2 million total set-aside, sole-source, undefinitized delivery-order contract for M-ATV sustainment spare parts. The date of performance completion is Oct 2/10. The Defense Logistics Agency in Warren, MI manages the contract (W56HZV-09-D-0111-VD01).

Dec 24/09: Oshkosh Defense announces an order from the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command Life Cycle Management Command (TACOM LCMC) to supply “more than 170” M-ATV explosively formed penetrator (EFP) armoring kits through April 2010, and 800 rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) kits through May 2010.

Uncharacteristically, Oshkosh’s release comes in advance of the Dec 29/09 Pentagon DefenseLINK announcement, which cites a $54.3 million firm-fixed-price contract for 800 RPG armoring kits and 172 EFP kits as “the partial exercise of an option.” It offers May 31/12 as the formal end of contract date. Five bids were solicited, with 1 bid received by US Army TACOM’s AMSCC-TAC-ADCA in Warren, MI (W56HZV-09-D-0111). Oshkosh Defense is teamed with Plasan North America to provide the M-ATV’s armoring solutions.

The US military, and its contractors, will not discuss details regarding these kits. EFPs are a form of land mine that uses the explosion to form a slug from its copper lining, creating what is in effect an impromptu tank sabot shell that fires into the victim vehicle. Rocket Propelled Grenades like the ubiquitous RPG-7 are bazooka-like anti-tank rockets with a shaped charge warhead. The RPG threat are usually addressed by “cage armor” slats like BAE’s LROD, which are not 100% effective, or by Explosive Reactive Armor tile sets that are shaped to fit the vehicle. Less conventional approaches like Tarian cloth armoring are also beginning to emerge.

Dec 22/09: Oshkosh announces that it has reached the production rate of 1,000 M-ATV vehicles per month, ahead of schedule. The milestone was reached on Dec 18/09, and Oshkosh reached the milestone by using production capacity at existing manufacturing facilities in Oshkosh, WI and McConnellsburg, PA. Production will continue at this rate of 1,000+ vehicles per month through May 2010, when all current orders would be filled.

Dec 10/09: A $175.4 million firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract exercises an option on Delivery Order #0003, and buys another 400 M-ATV vehicles and associated basic items. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, WI (50%), and McConnellsburg, PA (50%), with a formal contract completion date of May 31/12. The original contract solicited 5 bids, and received 5 (W56HZV-09-D-0111). 

To date, Oshkosh has received 6 awards valued at about $3.33 billion; when a contract for 25 test vehicles is included, they will deliver a total of 6,644 M-ATVs. The company has ramped up production to achieve 1,000 vehicles per month in December 2009, and this new award will extend production into May 2010. 

Nov 30/09: Oshkosh hands the 1,000th MRAP All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) over to the U.S. Armed Forces, at a ceremony in Oshkosh, WI. Marine Corps Systems Command’s commander Brig. Gen. Michael Brogan, and the MRAP Joint Program Office’ M-ATV product manager Lt. Col. Coll Haddon, were the keynote speakers. 

Nov 19/09: The way Army vehicles must be driven, and where they must be driven, means that the ability to get out of a vehicle quickly matters almost as much as what the vehicle can do for while you’re in it. Oshkosh Defense announces received a $5.6 million firm-fixed-price contract from the U.S. Army for the procurement of 26 “egress trainer cabin modules” for the Oshkosh M-ATV, and initial spare parts for a stateside training and certification standard program.

The modules are simulators that can train soldiers to get out of an M-ATV vehicle, even if it is flipped or in otherwise abnormal situations. a shift in Army thinking has encouraged M-ATV training to take place stateside versus in theater. The M-ATV cabin modules will be manufactured at the company’s facilities in McConnellsburg, PA.

Nov 19/09: Oshkosh meets the November M-ATV production requirement ahead of schedule, marking the 5th consecutive month. Oshkosh says that it will continue to increase production to meet December’s requirement of 1,000 vehicles, with output remaining at that high level through April 2010.

Nov 11/09: Oshkosh announces an additional $438 million, 1,000 vehicle order from the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command Life Cycle Management Command (TACOM LCMC). This is the 5th award Oshkosh has received to supply M-ATVs, and brings total orders to 6,219 vehicles and more than $3.2 billion. An option for 400 more M-ATVs and Basic Items of Issue is also included in this delivery order, which would bring the production total to 6,619.

Nov 11th is the Veteran’s Day holiday, so the Pentagon doesn’t announce the firm-fixed-price contract until Nov 12/09. Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of May 31/12. Five bids were solicited in the original contract, with 5 bids received by the U.S. Army TACOM Contracting Center AMSTA-TAC-ATBC in Warren, MI (W56HZV-09-D-0111).

Nov 11/09: BAE Systems announces a “multi-million dollar” sub-contract from Plasan North America to provide M-ATV armoring kit components to the program. Work on the contract will begin this month at BAE Systems’ production facilities in Fairfield, OH. Tony Russell, president of BAE Systems’ Security & Survivability business, said:

“The partnership between BAE Systems and Plasan represents the first of what we believe will be many collaborative efforts between our two companies.”

Nov 10/09: Oshkosh announces that it beat October 2009’s M-ATV delivery schedule of 385 vehicles, producing more than 435 vehicles during that month. This marks the 4th consecutive month Oshkosh has beaten the schedule, as it ramps up toward a planned production rate of 1,000 vehicles per month.

Oct 28/09: President Obama signs the FY 2010 defense budget. That budget includes $6.656 billion in funding for MRAP vehicles, $1.2 billion above the Pentagon’s original request. Significant chunks of that funding will be devoted to M-ATV purchases. 

Oct 27/09: Oshkosh announces 2 M-ATV contracts valued at more than $28 million. They include a $16 million contract from the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) for spare parts, and a $12 million contract from rom the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command Life Cycle Management Command (TACOM LCMC) for field service representatives (FSR) to support the M-ATV program in-theater through September 2010.

Oshkosh expects to complete production of the current M-ATV contract for 5,219 vehicles in March 2010.

Oshkosh M-ATV
Kandahar: M-ATV arrives

Oct 22/09: An initial 8 M-ATVs arrive in Kandahar by aerial transport. These vehicles will be used to train drivers and mechanics from units selected to receive M-ATVs. 

Note that earlier Pentagon announcements indicated M-ATVs in theater at the end of September, whereas this release places the initial use date into late October and tags it as a training set. One possibility is that the initial shipments were Special Forces vehicles. Another is that this announcement refers only to one Afghan sector, and that eastern sectors may have received the vehicles first. 

Oct 12/09: Oshkosh announces that it will be submitting its M-ATV and Sandcat vehicles for Australia’s PMV-L component of Overlander. Their partners in these 2 proposals are Plasan SASA, Ltd., who supplies the armoring solutions for both vehicles and developed the Sandcat/ Caracal; and local Oshkosh division JLG Australia, who will assist in manufacturing the vehicles and handle through-life support.

Australia has also indicated that they will be continuing onto the next phase of the American JLTV competition, which does not presently include these Oshkosh vehicles.

Oct 9/09: Oshkosh Corp. in Oshkosh, WI receives a $408.4 million firm-fixed-price contract for procurement of another 923 MRAP All Terrain Vehicles (M-ATVs) and aftermarket parts package that includes basic issue items. This brings total announced M-ATV orders to $2.76 billion for the full expected amount of 5,244 vehicles – a total that includes unannounced government orders for 25 test vehicles.

Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion date of May 31/12. The company plans to ramp production up to 1,000 vehicles per month in December 2009, and continue at that level through at least March 2010. Five bids were solicited for the original contract, with 5 bids received by TACOM, AMSCC-TAC-ADCA in Warren, MI (W56HZV-09-D-0111). 

Oct 5/09: SCHOTT DiamondView Armor Products LLC exhibits its DiamondView transparent armor window technology at AUSA. The DiamondView windows were selected for Oshkosh’s M-ATVs, and use a transparent glass-ceramic combination. It is hoped that DiamondView windows will be able to reduce lifecycle costs normally associated with windows delaminating, discoloring or peeling. The firm has been a defense industry supplier for 40 years, and currently holds world records for producing the world’s thinnest piece of glass (0.025mm, for medical technology and electronics), and the world’s largest piece of glass (8m tall, for astronomy).

In order to fill the Oshkosh contract, SCHOTT DAP has ramped up manufacturing at both its Boothwyn, PA and Vincennes, IN production facilities. The Vincennes/ now County facility currently processes and finishes glass-ceramic cooktops and flat glass for the home appliance industry, but the firm will invest $7.2 million over the next few years to add the transparent armor line. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered SCHOTT North America up to $2.32 million in performance-based tax credits and up to $50,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans, and the city of Vincennes will consider additional property tax abatement at the request of the Knox County Development Corporation. Hiring is underway, and the company expects to add more than 200 employees at peak production. 

Oct 2/09: Oshkosh announces a $33 million award from the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command Life Cycle Management Command (TACOM LCMC) to supply a rear mounted, infrared-enabled camera system on more than 2,200 MRAP All Terrain Vehicles (M-ATV).

The camera system has been deployed on other MRAPs. It integrates with existing vehicle video displays to provide a 40-degree vertical and 54-degree horizontal field of view. The system uses an infrared camera core in an LED-equipped tailgate assembly, and provides visibility through dust, obscurants and incremental weather in day and night operations. We all know drivers who could use one of these; on a battlefield they can save your life, as well as your vehicle bumper.

Oct 2/09: A release from the Marines says that M-ATV vehicles have started to flow from Oshkosh to Us Navy Space and Naval Warfare (SPAWAR) Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic. Oshkosh delivers the base vehicle, but modern military vehicles have a wide array of electronics and equipment to install, from jammers, to radios and other communications devices, to weapons like RWS turrets. The cost adds up, and so does the time required to install everything. According to M-ATV Joint Program Executive Officer, Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Michael Brogan, they’re using lessons learned from the MRAP program to speed up delivery to the front lines – something that became a problem early in the MRAP program:

“We were able to feed back to Oshkosh specific bracketry, racks and cabling so all that can be installed in the vehicle during manufacture; which means we dont have to do it at SPAWAR. The goal was to push as much of that work that was getting done at SPAWAR, particularly the touch labor, upstream into the manufacturing process. Because we knew it going into this, we were able to include it into the design. That clearly is one of the lessons learned from Baseline MRAP that will speed the process at Charleston.”

Oct 1/09: Oshkosh announces that they have exceeded M-ATV delivery requirements for the 3rd consecutive month. The September 2009 production target of 100 vehicles was met on Sept 22/09.

FY 2009

Oshkosh M-ATV
Oshkosh M-ATV

Sept 29/09: The Pentagon announces that the first Oshkosh M-ATVs have been deployed to Afghanistan.

Sept 14/09: Oshkosh Corp. in Oshkosh, WI receives a $189.1 million firm-fixed-price IDIQ contract for another 352 MRAP All Terrain Vehicles, and aftermarket parts packages that include Basic Issue items (35 LLO), Authorized Stockage (14 LO), Prescribed Load (14 LO), and Battle Damage and Repairs (14 LO). This brings total announced M-ATV orders to $2.31 billion for 4,296 vehicles. 

Work is to be performed in Oshkosh, WI, with an estimated completion of May 31/12. Five bids were solicited, with 5 bids received by TACOM, AMSCC-TAC-ADCA in Warren, MI (W56HZV-09-D-0111). 

July 31/09: Oshkosh Corp. in Oshkosh, WI receives another M-ATV order, The $1.064 billion firm-fixed-price contract modification exercises an option for another 1,700 M-ATVs, Field Service Representative Support, and associated parts support packages to include Authorized Stockage Lists (ASL), Prescribed Load List (PLL), Reprocessing Spares, Battle Damage Repair parts (BDR) and Basic Issue Items (BII). 

This order raises its total to $2.12 billion for 3,924 vehicles. They also announce that Oshkosh has exceeded the July 2009 delivery schedule of 45 M-ATVs by delivering 46.

Vehicles will be provided to the US Marine Corps, Army, Special Operations Command and US military testing. Vehicles and parts support packages will be fielded to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Field Service Representatives will be providing support in Kuwait and Afghanistan. 

Work is to be performed in McConnellsburg, PA, with an estimated completion date of July 31, 2010. U.S. Army TACOM LCMC in Warren, MI manages this contract (W56HZV-09-D-0111, delivery order #0002, modification 02).

June 30/09: Oshkosh Corporation. in Oshkosh, WI receives a $1.056 billion firm-fixed price delivery order (W56HZV-09-D-0111, #002) for of 2,244 MRAP All Terrain Vehicles (M-ATVs), Basic Issue Items, Field Service Representative Support, Equipment, Engineering, Authorized Stocking List Parts Packages and Prescribed Load List parts packages. The US Army Tank Automotive Command in Warren, MI manages this contract.

Stars and Stripes reports that the first M-ATV vehicles will be fielded to Afghanistan beginning in October 2009. The challenge will be getting them there. US Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Michael Brogan, head of Marine Corps Systems Command:

“We are flowing additional forces into Afghanistan right now, Army brigade combat teams as well as Marines units, and so the air bridge into Afghanistan is completely full.”

While the military sorts out its transport options, Oshkosh Chairman & CEO Robert G. Bohn issued an unequivocal statement, and an implicit offer to other firms:

“Due to the urgent need of our Armed Forces for a survivable and highly mobile vehicle, our Corporations number one priority is meeting the Department’s accelerated delivery schedule of the Oshkosh M-ATV. Oshkosh Corporation will put whatever resources are necessary to meet or exceed the government’s delivery schedule. While we believe we can meet or exceed the government’s current delivery requirements, we intend to enter into discussions with other manufacturers [emphasis DID’s] to determine if they can assist in the production of the Oshkosh M-ATV.
...our full-service aftermarket support network will be available with replacement parts, technical support, and repair or refurbishment services.”

Oshkosh Corporation is expected to eventually produce up to 1,000 vehicles a month, and plans to reach that monthly mark by December 2009. Efforts began even before the contract award. Oshkosh Defense President Andy Hove was quoted in Oshosh’s release, saying that firm had already begun daily production of Oshkosh M-ATVs on their flexible manufacturing line, a few weeks prior to the decision, after making “significant” investments in materials. Subsequent discussions with Oshkosh clarified that unusual step, and the thinking behind it. Andy Hove:

“As I said, our top priority is the delivery these vehicles to the Soldiers and Marines who need them. But we also knew that there would be a market for our offering should it not have been selected. Additionally, the early M-ATV production was a part of our pre-award production and engineering investments. We felt it was crucial to do what we could, in advance of a possible award, to ensure these vehicles would be delivered to the warfighters in Afghanistan as soon as possible. We also had conducted more than 7,500 miles of independent testing of our vehicle, separate from the government’s evaluation of our production-representative vehicles.”

June 30/09: Navistar and Force Protection both announce their disappointment at their M-ATV loss, while reiterating their firms’ strong points for investors.

June 2/09: The Pentagon’s Joint Requirements Oversight Council approves a plan for 5,244 M-ATVs to the US Army (2,598), Marine Corps (1,565), Special Operations Command (643), US Air Force (280) and the Navy (65). An additional 93 vehicles would be set aside for testing. 

May 15/09: USMC Commandant General James T. Conway speaks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank. An excerpt [PDF]:

“We are seeing an increasing sophistication on the part of the IED [land mines].... We are looking at an MRAP ha has greater off road capability because you do not have the road network hat you have in Iraq. You become fairly predictable, fairly easy to plot if you’re always going to be on those roads. Our MRAPs, and we have about 2,000 of them plus in the Marine Corps, don’t do that well off road. Now the favorite vehicle in Afghanistan today is the seven-ton truck, the MTVR. In an innovative fashion, our engineers and our people at Quantico said, let’s put the suspension of the MTVR on our CAT-1 MRAPs and see how it does. Well, it did pretty well…. Now, when we went to blow it up it did not perform do well because we created additional space and surface area underneath the vehicle. We have now blown it up three times. The third time looked pretty good…. We will have it in the hands of our troops potentially by mid-summer. It will cut cost. For the long-term utility of our CAT-I [4×4] MRAPs, which is mostly what we own… we have a much more multi-capable vehicle for the long term.

We are not divorcing ourselves from the MATV program at this point…. We are going to follow both with interest, and we will see where we want to park our monies and our effort as both these vehicles continue to mature.”

May 4/09: The Force Dynamics partnership announces their delivery of 3 additional production M-ATV Cheetah vehicles to the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test and Evaluation Center.

The release adds that Force Dynamics, LLC and Raytheon have agreed to provide a comprehensive command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance system (C4ISR) plug-and-play ready architecture for the M-ATV Cheetah, using the C4ISR Department of Defense Architecture Framework (DoDAF). It provides immediate access to services including sophisticated radio switching, networked video, navigation systems, Blue Force Tracking, Counter-Radio Controlled Improvised Explosive Device (RCIED) Electronic Warfare, and weapons systems.

Under the original MRAP program, vehicles required extensive modifications, integration, and testing to fully integrate various C4SIR configurations. This new architecture is designed to make that process much simpler.

The system is also designed to assist with remote monitoring of integrated vehicle and C4ISR systems via one monitoring platform, to offer complete systems status in real time. Remote data transfer, monitoring of platform usage, and capture of failure information are all part of that element, and each M-ATV Cheetah is registered in Raytheon’s Force Logistics System II, which is electronically integrated to the DoD’s current force support systems.

May 1/09: BAE Systems’ entries pass initial testing, as it receives a follow-on contract for 3 more GTS M-ATVs and 3 more USCS M-ATV test vehicles of each type. Other firms that have passed testing and received orders for 3 more vehicles include Force Protection’s Cheetah, Navistar’s Husky, and Oshkosh’s entry.

April 2/09: Navistar Defense, LLC is in discussions with the government over a technicality in the evaluation of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) program. Navistar was required to formalize its request for a review of the evaluation within a certain period of time, and wants its vehicle to be considered for M-ATV. 

March 11/09: A Bloomberg report quotes General Dynamics spokesman Ken Yamashita, who said that their M-ATV offer, based on its RG-31 partnership with BAE, “was not accepted…. He didn’t say why, and Pentagon spokeswoman Cheryl Irwin said she couldn’t comment.”

That failure still leaves GDLS in contention, via the Force Dynamics partnership’s Cheetah vehicle.

March 6/09: Oshkosh Defense announces a $1 million contract with the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) for government purchase of the 2 production-ready Oshkosh M-ATVs that were delivered on Feb. 23rd. This contract award is one of the required phases in the U.S. military’s evaluation of M-ATV submissions, and is awarded after the delivered vehicles are certified to meet the government’s initial design requirements.

All other M-ATV candidates also receive these awards, with 1 exception (see March 11/09).

Feb 23/09: M-ATV candidate vehicles are due from vendors for 2 months of testing and evaluation. Several of them announce deliveries on this day: BAE, Force Protection, Navistar, Oshkosh.

Feb 19/09: An Oshkosh release claims that its M-ATV team can produce the military’s most probable delivery order of 2,080 M-ATVs “within months of an awarded contract.” The Oshkosh team says that it is able to produce several hundred to 1,000 M-ATVs on a monthly basis, and Oshkosh Defense President John Stoddart adds that:

“Oshkosh’s warm production lines coupled with our mature M-ATV design allow us to ramp up production of this vehicle without impacting our current military programs.”

Of course, the same is true for competitors like BAE and Navistar, both of whom have MRAP production lines that are closing out, and substantial military truck production lines that continue to run.

Jan 15/09: Force Protection, Inc. and General Dynamics Land Systems Inc.’s Force Dynamics, LLC joint venture has focused on delivering Cougar MRAP vehicles, but Force Protection’s Cheetah vehicle had been excluded – until now. The joint venture announces that it has submitted the Cheetah for the U.S. Army’s MRAP All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) solicitation. 

The Cheetah began development in 2005 has completed Force Protection-sponsored blast testing at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD, and initial mobility and durability testing at the Nevada Automotive Test Center. It has undergone a range of enhancements since it was first developed, including the addition of independent suspension. Force Protection is commencing low-rate production at Force Protection’s Ladson, SC plant. 

Jan 9/09: Oshkosh Corporation submits its M-ATV proposal, based on the combat-proven Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) medium truck chassis. The firm has produced about 10,000 of these trucks for the US Marine Corps, which have been deployed all over the world. 

Nov 14/08: The US government issues a pre-solitication notice for a subsidiary competition called M-ATV, essentially an “MRAP Lite” bridge buy to the JLTV. FBO pre-solicitation #W56HZV-09-R-0115 states a buy that begins an an expected order of just 2,080 vehicles, but could reach up to 10,000. 

M-ATV’s top weight is just 12.5 tons empty, which is heavier than a Hummer or JLTV, but lighter than an MRAP. Even so, the RFP still demands significant protection against both conventional and EFP land mines. A draft issued on Nov 25/08 stated that M-ATV would receive the same top-priority DX production rating employed by the original MRAP program, adding that the first vehicles are expected to be fielded in the fall of 2009. 

This article can be found in its original format here.

No comments:

Post a Comment