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Forces from the UK, Denmark and Estonia Form Safe Corridor for US Forces in Helmand

January 31, 2014 by · Comment
Filed under: afghanistan, Force Protection, Syndicated Industry News 

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Armor Technology 2014

January 1, 2014 by · Comment
Filed under: Force Protection, Syndicated Industry News 

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Better Communications Link Trainers, Working Dogs

September 9, 2013 by · Comment
Filed under: Force Protection, Syndicated Industry News 

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New Multi-Int System Tailored for Force Protection

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Controp Scouting for Applications for SPEED-A Aerostat-Based Payloads

Controp is displaying its latest aerostat-optimized SPEED-A stabilized electro-optically payload system at Aero-India 2013, in anticipation of new opportunities maturing fr this unique system. The company is hopeful the system would be applicable for the Indian requirements for border and coastal protection, site protection and force protection, where tethered systems are have proved highly effective and economical in covering large areas, particularly over densely vegetated urban or flat terrain.

Controp Scout Applications for SPEED-A Aerostat-Based Payloads

Controp is displaying its latest aerostat-optimized SPEED-A stabilized electro-optically payload system at Aero-India 2013, in anticipation of new opportunities maturing fr this unique system. The company is hopeful the system would be applicable for the Indian requirements for border and coastal protection, site protection and force protection, where tethered systems are have proved highly effective and economical in covering large areas, particularly over densely vegetated urban or flat terrain.

GD’s Force Protection Divison Wins U.K. Contract

Force Protection was one of the first and largest manufacturers of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles used by the U.S. and its Allies in Afghanistan and Iraq. For a time during the first decade of this century the company won a large number of contracts to build, service and maintain these vehicles as the U.S. quickly ramped up its inventory.

Over the last few years though it was a different story as the company faced struggles due to declining demand and the fact that the new MRAP for Afghanistan, the MRAP-AT, contract was won by Oshkosh (OSK). Eventually the company and its assets were acquired by General Dynamics (GD) who also has made MRAP and armor for these vehicles.

That does not mean that different military forces are not investing in MRAP just that the market has shrunk significantly. The U.K. just awarded GD a contract for 51 more Force Protection Foxhound vehicles for use in Afghanistan. The value is just over $73 million.

The U.K. already operates Foxhounds and in 2010 ordered 376 of them. They are made in the U.K. by the former Force Protection.

The military vehicle market still remains strong as the U.S. needs to replace and upgrade large amounts of vehicles from the 1980′s that have seen heavy use since 2001. They also need to fit the stocks of MRAP’s into their tactical formations and doctrine.

Photo from Think Defence flickr photostream.

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General Dynamics Brings New Work to South Carolina — Press Release

General Dynamics Brings New Work to South Carolina

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich., Jan. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — General Dynamics Land Systems announced today that the newly acquired Force Protection manufacturing facility in Ladson, S.C., will install additional combat-related equipment on 292 Double-V Hull Strykers to be deployed to Afghanistan.

The equipment provides combat capabilities to the vehicles in preparation for Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) deployment. It includes additional communication, protection and situational-awareness enablers for the warfighter.

The $10 million in new work begins in March 2012 and leverages the skills of mechanics, supply professionals and management. Approximately 45 jobs will be created for the work, which is expected to be completed by February of 2013.

General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) completed its acquisition in December 2011 of Force Protection, Inc., a provider of blast- and ballistic-protected platforms that support the armed forces of the United States and its allies. The transaction, valued at approximately $360 million, was announced on November 7 and is expected to be accretive to General Dynamics’ earnings in 2012. Force Protection is part of General Dynamics Land Systems.

General Dynamics Land Systems is a leading manufacturer of wheeled, tracked and amphibious combat vehicles, offering a spectrum of design, production and lifecycle support to customers worldwide. Its portfolio of vehicle platforms includes the Stryker wheeled combat vehicle, the Abrams main battle tank and the MRAP class of tactical vehicles. The company employs world-class manufacturing and systems-integration processes to develop vehicles designed to meet current and future ground-combat requirements.

More information about General Dynamics is available at www.generaldynamics.com.

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General Dynamics To Acquire Force Protection

In a major shakeup of the U.S. armored vehicle industry General Dynamics (GD) announced late yesterday that it intends to acquire Force Protection (FRPT). GD is one of the largest defense contractors in the United States and makes a diverse product line including the Stryker wheeled combat vehicle, submarines, C4I systems and other defense related systems. Force Protection came to the fore in the middle part of the last decade as a successful provider of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles used by the U.S. and its Allies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

GD will pay about $5.52 a share for the South Carolina based company for a total cost of around $360 million. The transaction still needs to go through all of the necessary shareholder and Government wickets but GD hopes to close it out by the end of 2011.

Force Protection is a good example of the boom-and-bust aspect of the defense industry. They were early producers of MRAP vehicles selling quite a few to select customers before in 2004-2005 Congress and the DoD decided to invest in thousands of the heavily armored vehicles. MRAP were seen as the best counter to the mine and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) threat in Iraq and Afghanistan that were causing hundreds of casualties among U.S. troops traveling in their support vehicles which tended not to be heavily armored.

MRAP were bought initially to equip engineering units responsible for removing these threats but then became standard tactical vehicles. Hundreds were purchased from a variety of suppliers including Force Protection, Navistar (NAV), BAE Systems (BAE:LSE) and other companies across the globe. Factories sprang up in South Carolina, Mississippi and other states to produce them. The U.S. used rapid acquisition to buy the MRAP, spares and logistical support and by 2007 deaths were much reduced.

Force Protection’s earnings and stock mirrored this boom going up to a high in 2008 in the mid-$20 range. Unfortunately at a certain point the U.S. had purchased all that it needed especially of the first generation MRAP and by the end of 2008 Force Protection was struggling to make a profit and its stock had dropped below $10.

The company did not win contracts for the new MRAP vehicle being purchased for Afghanistan losing out to Oshkosh (OSK) for the MRAP-ATV contract. It had bid on some other work like Australia’s and Canada’s new armored vehicles but those contracts are yet to be awarded. It did in 2010 win a contract to build vehicles for the U.K. worth a substantial amount.

The acquisition by GD reflects the changing market that currently exists. With defense cuts coming it will be hard for the U.S. to support multiple suppliers for this product. GD gains manufacturing capability and staff who will make money supporting their existing vehicles and will help GD with the design and production of new systems.

It can be expected that there will be an uptick in M&A with mid-level companies like this that will see limited markets. The U.S. Government has made clear that it is not in favor of the bigger defense contractors merging as happened in the Nineties but the cut backs will see many smaller corporations disappear either changing markets or being absorbed by their competitors.

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Force Protection Submits Bid for Canada’s Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle Project — Press Release

Force Protection Submits Bid for Canada’s Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle Project

LADSON, S.C., Sept. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Force Protection Industries, Inc., a FORCE PROTECTION, INC. (NASDAQ:FRPT) group company, today announced the submission of a bid and test vehicle to the Canadian Forces for the Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle (TAPV) project.

Force Protection is offering the Canadian Forces a 6×6 variant of the battle proven Cougar wheeled combat vehicle developed by Force Protection to meet the TAPV requirements. Force Protection will be the design authority and have overall responsibility for the acquisition contract to supply the TAPV vehicles and maintain configuration control.

As Force Protection’s main Canadian partner, CAE will have overall responsibility for the comprehensive in-service support (ISS) solution, including: vehicle operator and mission training systems; engineering information environment; fleet management services; systems engineering support; and, lifecycle and integrated logistics support services. CAE will also be responsible for assembling a pan-Canadian team of companies to develop and support any country-specific requirements for Canada’s replacement fleet of tactical armored patrol vehicles.

Force Protection and CAE previously announced a collaboration that includes Elbit Systems as the provider for a dual remote weapons system (DRWS) and Lockheed Martin Canada as the provider of C4ISR suite for the Timberwolf vehicle. Elbit Systems’ Land and C4I DRWS was chosen based on its superior performance, reliability and ease of integration. Lockheed Martin Canada was chosen as the C4ISR integrator for Timberwolf based on its recognized capability in the development, production and support for integrated C4 systems.

Randy Hutcherson, Chief of Business Development for Force Protection, said, “Partnered with CAE, Force Protection is pleased to formally submit Timberwolf as the optimal solution for the TAPV project. Along with our key providers, we are committed to offering the Canadian Forces a highly-protected and reliable vehicle, as well as Industrial and Regional Benefits that will contribute to investment in Canadian industry and provide further experience and capability in the armored vehicle market.”

A contract award to the final selected bidder for the TAPV requirement is currently expected by the second quarter of 2012.

About Force Protection, Inc.

Force Protection, Inc. is a leading designer, developer and manufacturer of survivability solutions, including blast- and ballistic-protected wheeled vehicles currently deployed by the U.S. military and its allies to support armed forces and security personnel in conflict zones. The Company’s specialty vehicles, including the Buffalo, Cougar, Ocelot and the related variants of each, are designed specifically for reconnaissance and other operations and protect their occupants from landmines, hostile fire, and improvised explosive devices (commonly referred to as roadside bombs). Complementing these efforts, the Company is designing, developing and marketing the JAMMA, a new vehicle platform that provides increased modularity, transportability, speed and mobility. The Company also develops, manufactures, tests, delivers and supports products and services aimed at further enhancing the survivability of users against additional threats. In addition, the Company provides long-term life cycle support services of its vehicles that involve development of technical data packages, supply of spares, field and depot maintenance activities, assignment of skilled field service representatives, and advanced driver and maintenance training programs. For more information on Force Protection and its products and services, visit www.forceprotection.net.
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Force Protection Receives $71.3 Million in Awards for Additional Buffalo Vehicles and Field Service Representative Support — Press Release

Force Protection Receives $71.3 Million in Awards for Additional Buffalo Vehicles and Field Service Representative Support

~U.S. Army Orders 56 Buffalo Route Clearance Vehicles~
~U.S. Marine Corps Contracts for Six Month Extension of 55 FSRs~

LADSON, S.C., June 28, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Force Protection Industries, Inc., a FORCE PROTECTION, INC. (NASDAQ: FRPT) group company, today announced it has received two awards totaling $71.3 million.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110321/CL67729LOGO )

The first award is a firm fixed price modification under contract W56HZV-08-C-0028 totaling $63.8 million from U.S. Army Contracting Command for delivery of 56 Buffalo Mine Protected Clearance Vehicles. Work will be performed in Ladson and is expected to begin in January 2012 and be completed by July 31, 2012.

The second award is a $7.5 million firm-fixed-price modification under previously awarded contract M67854-07-D-5031 for a six-month renewal of 55 Field Service Representatives (FSRs) to conduct general maintenance and upgrade operations on Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. Work will be performed in overseas theaters of operation, and is expected to be completed by Dec. 31, 2011.

Randy Hutcherson, Chief Operating Officer of Force Protection, said, “The Buffalo remains the cornerstone of the U.S. Army’s route clearance operations. It has performed exceptionally well since going into initial service in 2003 and saved countless lives. Complementing our vehicle design, development and manufacturing efforts, we are also supporting the U.S. military with exceptional service and support of our vehicles. Today’s announcement of the U.S. Marine Corps’ extension of FSR support is another clear indicator of the key role of our vehicles in combat operations. We take pride in working closely with our customers and will continue to ensure they have the critical resources to promote operational success in the current conflict and beyond.”

About Force Protection, Inc.

Force Protection, Inc. is a leading designer, developer and manufacturer of survivability solutions, including blast- and ballistic-protected wheeled vehicles currently deployed by the U.S. military and its allies to support armed forces and security personnel in conflict zones. The Company’s specialty vehicles, including the Buffalo, Cougar, Ocelot and related variants, are designed specifically for reconnaissance and urban operations and to protect their occupants from landmines, hostile fire, and improvised explosive devices (commonly referred to as roadside bombs). Complementing these efforts, the Company is designing, developing and marketing the JAMMA, a new vehicle platform that provides increased modularity, transportability, speed and mobility. The Company also develops, manufactures, tests, delivers and supports products and services aimed at further enhancing the survivability of users against additional threats. In addition, the Company provides long-term life cycle support services of its vehicles that involve development of technical data packages, supply of spares, field and depot maintenance activities, assignment of skilled field service representatives, and advanced driver and maintenance training programs. For more information on Force Protection and its products and services, visit http://www.forceprotection.net/.
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International Armoured Vehicles 2011 – International export markets beckon for Force Protection Europe’s world-leading next-generation vehicle – Press Release

International Armoured Vehicles 2011 – International export markets beckon for Force Protection Europe’s world-leading next-generation vehicle

Ocelot makes its first public appearance since the MoD awarded the Light Protected Patrol Vehicles (LPPV) programme contract to FPE

Force Protection Europe’s contract winning light protected patrol vehicle, Ocelot, will be appearing at this year’s International Armoured Vehicles exhibition on 8 and 9 February at ExCeL in London. This will be the first time that the vehicle has been on public view since Force Protection Europe was awarded a contract last November to supply the UK MoD with 200 of the vehicles.

The first batch of vehicles, which will be known as Foxhound by the British Army, will be delivered to the Army’s training fleet later this year with the final vehicles scheduled to be completed by Spring 2012.

Designed, developed and built in the UK by survivability specialist Force Protection Europe, together with Team Ocelot partners automotive specialist Ricardo plc, Thales, QinetiQ, Formaplex, DSG and Sula, Ocelot is the most highly protected and agile vehicle of its size and weight that is available today.

Ocelot moved from concept to development over a remarkably short time frame for a military vehicle. Marrying together innovations from the motorsport arena with traditional defence vehicle development discipline, Ocelot underwent more than 12 months of rigorous blast and mobility testing before being chosen by the MoD.

David Hind, Managing Director, Force Protection Europe, said, “Our prime goal for this year is to meet the MoD’s schedule for the LPPV programme. However Ocelot’s success has also generated international interest in this ground breaking vehicle, which we hope to see being developed for other markets; the first of these is Australia as we prepare to send two Ocelots – a utility and a command variant – Down Under for testing in the Land 121 Phase 4 Project for the Protected Mobility Vehicle – Light prototype.”

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Force Protection to Upgrade U.S.M.C. MRAP Vehicles

The United States Marine Corps announced that they are awarding a Force Protection (FRPT) a contract to upgrade over two thousand Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles previously purchased. The contract to modify the seats on these Cougar vehicles is worth over $60 million.

The U.S. military has invested billions in MRAP vehicles since 2005 due to the prevalence of the mine and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) threat in Iraq and Afghanistan. MRAP provide the ability to move troops across terrain with a higher level of protection then more conventional armored vehicles. Force Protection along with Navistar (NAV), BAE Systems (BAE:LSE) and Oshkosh (OSK) have built thousands of these vehicles for the U.S. military and many Allies.

One of the advantages of being a major hardware supplier to the U.S. military and other customers is the ability to win contracts to modify, support and maintain that hardware. This contract is a good example of that as Force Protection is earning revenue off of already delivered and in-service vehicles.

Force Protection stock has struggled since its high of almost $30 in 2007 to where in the last year it has been between $4 and $6. The U.S. has turned mainly to Oshkosh for its latest MRAP-AT vehicle designed for the more rugged terrain of Afghanistan.

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Australia Continues Targeted Investment in Military Modernization

Australia has announced a series of contracts to upgrade parts of their military. Some of this has been in response to the fighting in Afghanistan since 9/11 and others due to the expanding ability of the Chinese and other Asian states military. These contracts include updated naval combat ships as well as the major commitment to the struggling F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). When at all possible Australia is awarding these to companies based in the country to maximize the stimulus effect of the contract. As all nations Australia has been affected by the global economic downturn of the last two years and is trying to spend its defense dollars judiciously to help its own domestic suppliers.

The next major contract announced is one for light armored vehicles that will be used to upgrade both troops in Australia and those deployed in Afghanistan. The U.S. and its Allies have seen the need for better systems with more maneuverability and protection against the mine and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) threat.

The contract could be worth up to $1 billion (Aus) and several different teams will be bidding for it. One of these will be Thales Australia based in Victoria. As it names indicates this is part of the Thales, French based, aerospace and defense company. The company has about a $1 billion (Aus) business already in Australia so winning this contract will be a major coup and increase in their business.

The Australian government plans to conduct the contract in the same manner as the U.S. Department of Defense’s recent MRAP-ATV contest. Here companies were paid to build prototypes that were tested and then one or more of the designs were chosen. Australia is giving Thales and General Dynamics Land Systems, part of the U.S. General Dynamics (GD) defense giant, as well as a company headed up by the U.S. Force Protection (FRPT) MRAP maker contracts to deliver prototypes.

The choice of a new vehicle will be a major upgrade to the Australian defense capabilities and the decision to use an Australian based company to do the development and production will aid the county’s economy.

Photo from ISAF media flickr photostream.

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MoD to Buy Two Ocelots for Further LPPV Testing — Press Release

MoD to Buy Two Ocelots for Further LPPV Testing

LONDON, April 27, 2010/PRNewswire/ — The Ministry of Defence has placed a contract with Force Protection Europe Ltd for the purchase of two Ocelot light protected patrol vehicles. The acquisition has been made to enable further testing in respect of the MoD’s Light Protected Patrol Vehicle programme.

David Hind, Managing Director of Force Protection Europe, said: “We are very pleased with how our own testing and development schedule has been progressing. Ocelot has been performing well in tests since the middle of last year and has demonstrated that it offers unprecedented levels of survivability and manoeuvrability for a vehicle of this size and weight.”

Graeme Rumbol, Global Vehicle Product Group Director for Ricardo plc, added: “The MoD has already completed a number of their own tests on two of our vehicles so we’re delighted that they are now investing in these vehicles so that they can carry out further trials. Ocelot is building upon our existing long-standing relationship with the UK MoD, which has most recently seen Ricardo carrying out extensive fleet upgrades to create the new RWMIK Plus standard of WMIK vehicle.”

Ocelot has the flexibility to perform a range of roles including patrol, fire support and protected logistics. Innovative features include role-specific pods which can be fitted quickly to the core automotive armoured V-shaped hull in the field. The armoured hull houses the main fuel tank, drive line, batteries and generator as well as the powerpack, which includes the engine, gearbox, auxiliary fuel tank and associated ECUs (electronic control units). The vehicle has been designed from the outset to be easily repaired and maintainable in the austere environment of a forward operating base. Commercial off the shelf (COTS) components have been used to ensure maximum availability of spares worldwide.

Ocelot is equally suited to operations in desert, jungle, mountainous or urban environments and meets the needs of military and internal security forces around the world.

The excellence of Force Protection’s survivability technologies are amply demonstrated by the performance of the company’s Mastiff and Ridgback Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. The Cougar vehicles upon which they are based are recognised around the world as offering the highest levels of survivability. Ricardo is a leading independent technology provider and strategic consultant to the world’s transportation and clean energy sectors. Its highly successful defence vehicle engineering operations in both the UK and North America are based upon the company’s thorough understanding of vehicle operational requirements and access to the very latest in automotive technology.

Source: Force Protection Europe

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Oshkosh Defense Awarded $11 Million for In Theater MRAP Support — Press Release

Oshkosh Defense Awarded $11 Million for In Theater MRAP Support

OSHKOSH, Wis. — April 15, 2010 — Oshkosh Defense, a division of Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK), announced today that it has received a purchase order for more than $11 million from Force Protection Industries, Inc. (FPII) (NASDAQ: FRPT) to extend an existing contract and retain approximately 100 Oshkosh field service representatives (FSR) in Kuwait for an additional four months. The FSRs will continue support of FPII and the military with installation of the Oshkosh TAK-4® independent suspension systems on FPII Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, known as Cougars, which started in July 2009. The extension will allow Oshkosh FSRs to continue work in Kuwait through June of this year.

Oshkosh Defense is working with multiple manufacturers of legacy MRAPs and has received orders to retrofit more than 2,500 vehicles with the Oshkosh TAK-4 independent suspension systems. Vehicles outfitted with the TAK-4 system have greater mobility with 16 inches of independent wheel travel to provide advanced off-road capabilities necessary for Afghanistan’s mountainous terrain and unimproved roads. The system also greatly reduces shock and vibration, resulting in longer component life and less wear-and-tear on soldiers and Marines so they can be better prepared for their missions.

“We’ve had great success in retrofitting legacy MRAPs with our TAK-4 independent suspension system, enabling the military’s current fleet to deliver exceptional off-road performance and crew comfort,” said Andy Hove, Oshkosh Corporation executive vice president and president, Defense. “These improvements allow our troops to operate in Afghanistan’s extreme environments, so it’s important to get these upgrades in the field as fast as possible. Our FSRs allow us to move quickly by working in theater with our troops, bringing Oshkosh technology and support directly to our warfighters.”

The Oshkosh TAK-4 independent suspension system has undergone more than 500,000 miles of government testing and is used on the Oshkosh® MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV). The system also is featured on more than 10,000 Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacements (MTVR) used by the U.S. Marine Corps and Navy Seabees, as well as on the Army’s next-generation Palletized Load System (PLS) and the Marine Corps’ Logistics Vehicle System Replacement (LVSR).

Oshkosh FSRs are currently working in the United Kingdom, Egypt and Germany, in addition to FSRs deployed in Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq to provide in-field support and enhance military mobility.
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U.S.M.C. Gives Support Contract To Force Protection

Force Protection had a heyday a few years ago as a manufacturer of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. In 2005 – 2007 the U.S. military could not buy the vehicles fast enough as Congress showered them with money for them. The IED and mine threat at that time was consistently inflicting the most casualties on the U.S. and its allies. It still remains a potent threat in Afghanistan but not as much in Iraq as the U.S. slowly pulls its troops out.

Force Protection was unable to keep its sales up as more companies entered the market. There have been some recent sales to overseas customers but the main U.S. defense buys have dried up. The company was able to announce today that it had signed a contract with the U.S.M.C. for field service support to its existing vehicles. This contract is worth over $26 million.

An OEM often has the ability to sell maintenance, support and modification services to the military once production of an article is completed. Eventually the defense department may turn to other providers so that market too ends. It behooves a company to keep improving their products or make new ones that attract the market.

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UK Buys Force Protection MRAPs

Force Protection announced that they had signed a contract to provide the United Kingdom twenty-three Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. The contract was signed through the USMC. The vehicles will most likely be used in Afghanistan to support the British forces there.

The continued operations there have demanded extreme efforts to protect against the mine and IED threat. The U.S. and its Allies continue to invest in MRAP vehicles while trying t figure out how best to fit then into their traditional organizations.

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Rumor Of New MRAP Contracts For Afghanistan May Bouy Navistar

An internal memo from within the Department of Defense some how leaked out. It states that in support of the U.S. operations in Afghanistan a further 2,500 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles will be required. Over the last two years the focus of acquisition for these kind of vehicles has been the Oshkosh produced MRAP-AT which was the result of the MRAP-All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) contest. The MRAP-ATV requirements were for a lighter, more maneuverable vehicle able to operate better in Afghanistan’s rough terrain.

Navistar was unable to win the MRAP-ATV contest and have missed out on the several hundred million dollars worth of orders for those vehicles. If the memo is correct an order for over one thousand of their MRAP type vehicles for use in Afghanistan will be welcome. The U.S. military has spent a great deal on MRAPs to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan over the last five years. They now possess significant numbers of them and will use them for several years to come. There will be little need to buy more of them and this will affect Navistar, BAE Systems and Force Protection all who ramped up production to meet demand.

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Follow On MRAP-ATV Contract Awarded To Oshkosh

At the end of June Oshkosh won the initial MRAP-ATV contract from the U.S. Department of Defense. This one billion dollar contract was for over two thousand of the lighter and more maneuverable Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles for use in Afghanistan. The DoD conducted a contest between a variety of companies that included a “drive off” to demonstrate capability. While it was thought that more then one company would win contracts only Oshkosh received an order.

Now it was announced today that Oshkosh won a follow on order for another seventeen hundred vehicles for another billion dollars. The company already had to invest in expanding its workforce and capability to meet the first one. Part of any contract award by the Defense Department is based on the winner’s demonstration that they are able to meet the production and quantity requirements so Oshkosh should be able to build these. The follow on award though will deal a further blow to Navistar, BAE Systems and Force Protection efforts in the MRAP business.

The U.S. had rapidly purchased a variety of different MRAP vehicles for about four years to provide protection for troops as they moved around Iraq. There is an on-going struggle how to fit these vehicles into their tactical formations now that those operations are winding down. The MRAP are big, road optimized vehicles and are not designed for use in rough terrain or combat. This is part of the reason that the Future Combat System (FCS) vehicle portion was canceled. There may soon be an end to the purchase of any large numbers of MRAP as future more tactical combat vehicles are purchased.

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MRAP-ATV Contract Continues On Track

The MRAP-ATV is a program to develop a lighter, more maneuverable Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle for use in Afghanistan. The Army has been working on awarding a production contract by the end of this quarter. Reports indicated that that will happen and one or more companies who are participating in the current testing will receive an order.

The Army and other Services have invested a great deal of money in the last five years into these systems to counter the IED and mine threat in Iraq and Afghanistan. The vehicles due to their size and weight primarily are road bound and provide point-to-point transport. The rougher terrain in Afghanistan and lack of roads has led to the MRAP-ATV requirement. The program has moved fast as basically all of the vehicles proposed are existing systems.

The winner(s) will see a great deal of work quickly as the military hopes to ramp up production and quantities very quickly. The use of MRAP and their force mix are all undergoing study as the U.S. tries to fit them into its regular tactical organizations and doctrine.

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MRAP-ATV Moves Forward

In early March the Defense Department awarded a group of companies contracts to begin concept designs for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected-All Terrain Vehicle (MRAP-ATV). Now it is being reported that the first production buy contracts may be awarded by May 1st. Crain’s Detroit Business says that the contracts had been delayed due to the short lived protest by Navistar. The Army plans to buy a small quantity of vehicles to do tests with and then order larger buys. The Defense Department had discussed in the past buying several of the proposed vehicles rather then focusing on just one.

This would mirror the experience had with the large MRAP vehicles bought for use in Iraq and Afghanistan to defeat the IED threat. Then due to the large quantities needed quickly several companies were able to win contracts. Part of this was that the U.S. military moved slowly first equipping engineering units and then the bulk of their infantry and other troops. This meant that the U.S.M.C and the Army bought different types for the missions. The MRAP-ATV will be used in Afghanistan where a lighter, more mobile off road vehicle is needed due to the rough terrain. This has been a more deliberate process then that used for the MRAP. Multiple contracts would allow faster equipping of units, but will also require a larger, more diverse logistical and training tail.

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Has Force Protection Turned the Corner?

It has been a good few weeks for Force Protection. First they set up the joint venture withe British company Morgan Crucible JV to produce new armored support vehicles for the British military. Then they won a contract from Hungary for three Cougar vehicles plus support. While this is not a large contract it may certainly lead to other contracts from the new Eastern European NATO countries. Now it is reported that they have won a contract from the U.S.M.C. for upgraded MRAP vehicles. The big prize that is still out there is the MRAP-ATV contract which will build a new, lighter and more maneuverable vehicle for use in Afghanistan. Force Protection had been losing work in 2007-2008 after a big boom in 2005 and out due to the rapid demand for MRAP driven by the reaction from Congress to the IED threat. The company’s stock declined rapidly and there was a shareholder suit filed. If the company can keep up this pace and win some of the MRAP-ATV work then it will have a solid future for the next few years. Depending on how the new budget integrates MRAP and the future replacement for the FCS requirement there might be more work there for a long time. More to come on this for sure.

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Force Protection Looks at Expansion in Michigan

Force Protection which had ridden the boom in the demand for MRAP vehicles from the U.S. military had its struggles in the past two years. See this previous article for more. Recently the company had bid on the new MRAP-ATV requirement for lighter, more maneuverable MRAPs for Afghanistan along with several other companies. In preparation in case it wins one of the multiple development contracts that are part of this plan the company as reported by Crain’s Detroit Business is looking at more space in Sterling Heights, Michigan. Other companies who bid include Oshkosh and BAE Systems. The contract announcements are expected in April.

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New MRAP Proposal Submitted by Oshokosh

As was written about at BNET: Government the U.S. military is moving forward with a new generation of MRAP vehicles that will be lighter and more maneuverable for Afghanistan. The Business Journal of Milwaukee writes that Oshkosh submitted its proposal on 9 January for the program. Oshkosh along with BAE, Navistar and Force Protection would seem to be the main contenders for the program. The MRAP-All Terrain Vehicle program will be managed like the recent JLTV award for multiple development contracts with a test and evaluation program for different vehicles. More then one successful design may be awarded production contracts as the program goes.

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