Special Operations Truck Contract Delayed (UPDATED)
TAMPA, Fla. — A contract award for a new special operations tactical truck has been delayed until late summer while officials continue to mull their options, according the vehicle's program manager.
Tactical vehicle manufacturers had expected a decision sometime in April for what SOCOM calls the ground mobility vehicle 1.1, but the date has now been moved to mid-August, according to Marine Corps Lt. Col. Ken Burger, program manager for the family of special operations vehicles.
The delay is not an indication that anything is amiss with the acquisition strategy, Burger told National Defense May 16 at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference here.
“There’s not problem with the program,” he said. “We are simply still working through the process and in dealing with our vendors. We needed some more time.”
An industry insider who is familiar with the program said in a recent interview that SOCOM met with competing firms May 1 to request more information on each potential GMV. It was assumed that SOCOM is giving companies a chance to “adjust” the per-vehicle price ahead of the contract award, she said.
Burger would not elaborate on the specifics or purpose of the delay, but was insistent that the program is on track.
Plans are to buy about 1,300 of the vehicles to replace SOCOM’s current GMV fleet, which are Humvees specialized for use by commandos.
Compared to the proposed joint light tactical vehicle for the Army and Marine Corps, the GMV 1.1 is expected to be a relatively small contract. But companies have spent millions of internal research-and-development dollars to design and built prototypes based on SOCOM’s published requirements.
Only AM General, which builds Humvees and the current GMV, did not build a new truck from the ground up, though its redesign of the Humvee-based GMV is significantly upgraded and not identical to the vehicle now in service.
Other contenders include Navistar International, and The FLYER built by General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems. Oshkosh Defense and Lockheed Martin each offered up trucks designed specifically to serve a GMV role, but both have been cut from the running.
Oshkosh filed a protest earlier this year but withdrew it last month. The industry official said the withdrawal could have been a move to resubmit a proposal.
The contract is worth $25 million in fiscal year 2014. SOCOM included a 100-vehicle purchase in its budget request for that year, according to published reports.
SOCOM is also seeking a smaller vehicle that fits inside a V-22 Osprey, designated the internally transportable vehicles. A request for proposals for that program was issued in April.
Correction: This article originally misstated that General Dynamics Land Systems offered the Flyer vehicle for the GMV 1.1 competition. The Flyer is made by General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems.
Photo Credit: AM General, General Dynamics, Navistar