U.S. Special Forces search for new off-road vehicle

Special forces need a special vehicle.

While the Pentagon is looking for a suitable replacement for the Humvee, the United States Special Operations Command is evaluating proposals for its Ground Mobility Vehicle 1.1 (GMV 1.1) program. The goal is to create a highly mobile all-terrain vehicle that can support a variety of “peculiar modifications” required for Special Ops.

Unlike the converted Humvees currently in use in some theaters, the new vehicle needs to be lighter, faster and easily transportable by land, sea or air, with next generation communications and computing equipment integrated into the design. Nevertheless, contractors are tackling those goals with very different approaches.

Navistar has teamed up with Indigen Armor on a four-door pickup powered by a 325 hp 6.0-liter turbodiesel engine called the Special Operations Tactical Truck. Unique features include a folding gun turret that allows the vehicle to fit into a Chinook helicopter and be ready for action within a minute of driving off it. Although the GMV 1.1 requirements call for an un-armored vehicle, the proposal is based on an existing design that has a fully armored passenger cell and it can be easily upfitted to several levels of ballistic protection.

While the Navistar-Indigen Armor truck could pass for a conventional pickup at a distance, there’s no mistaking General Dynamics Land System's proposal for anything other than a specialized fighting machine. Part off-road racer, part erector set, the modular vehicle can support a wide variety of weapons platforms and configurations while its mid-mounted six-cylinder turbodiesel aims to provide improved weight distribution for maneuverability.

The selection process is under wraps, but a decision is expected by the end of the year with production set to begin in 2013. The contract calls for approximately 1,300 GMVs to be delivered by 2020.

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