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USAF seeks special operations CSAR vehicle

24th June 2010 - 13:48 by Andrew White in Millbrook

The US Air Force Special Operations Command (USAFSOC) is expected to release a request for proposals (RfP) by the end of the year for a dedicated series of combat search and rescue (CSAR) vehicles.

Industry sources have informed Land Warfare International that a request for information (RfI) has already been released, with the RfP delayed by a few months due to various ‘reshaped’ requirements.

USAFSOC is understood to be seeking a 4x4, open-top and wheeled vehicle for ‘covert‘ missions, that is capable of being transported internally by V-22 Osprey. It is also seeking a larger variant which could be carried as an underslung load by CH-47 and CH-53 air frames. Other requirements include an all-up-weight of 7,000 pounds and maximum vehicle width of 60-inches.

Original requirements for the ‘Guardian Angel’ programme called for 90 internally transportable variants although this has been reduced to around 55 vehicles, sources said.

Speaking to LWI at the Defence Vehicles Dynamics exhibition in Millbrook, UK, Force Protection confirmed it would offer a variant of its Jamma (Joint All-Terrain Modular Mobility Asset) vehicle for the internally transportable vehicle (ITV) part of the requirement. The company also confirmed that it was in a position to offer up an open-top version of its Ocelot light protected patrol vehicle for the underslung version.

Force Protection’s chief operating officer, Randy Hutcherson, told LWI that the company was in the process of designing two prototypes which would be made available to USAFSOC this year.

‘We are improving mobility, protection and survivability to whatever extent we can do to meet customer requirements,’ he said while describing how the company was also considering command and control variants.

Other interested parties are understood to include General Dynamics and its Flyer II light strike vehicle and Raytheon’s HyDRA (Hybrid Defense Reconnaissance and Assault) system. Previously, Supacat had designed an ITV for V-22 but the company confirmed to LWI that it had yet to enter the race for the USAFSOC requirement.

Sources also told LWI that Lockheed Martin was considering a teaming agreement to bid for the contract, worth an undisclosed sum. Currently, NAVAIR (Naval Systems Air Command) has certified both Jamma and US Marine Corps Growler vehicles for internal transportation by V-22.

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