U.S. Army vehicle experts hope to take delivery of three Infantry Squad Vehicle prototypes from five selected firms in mid-November and immediately begin testing the ultralight grunt vehicle.
The Army recently awarded rapid-prototyping agreements worth roughly $1 million each to three teams for the effort -- Oshkosh Defense LLC and Flyer Defense LLC; General Motors LLC; and Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), which teamed with Polaris Government and Defense, according to a statement from the Army's Program Executive Officer Combat Support & Combat Service Support.
Once delivered to Aberdeen Test Center, Maryland, the production prototypes will undergo various performance, operational and characteristics tests that are expected to last through December, according to the statement.
The prototypes are then scheduled to go to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in January to take part in an assessment known as a Soldier Touch Point.
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"The Army plans to down-select to one offeror for production in the second quarter of fiscal year 2020," according to the statement. "This selection will be based largely on soldier input."
In early February, the Army Requirements Oversight Council approved an Army procurement objective for 649 ISVs and Army Acquisition Objective for 2,065 of the highly mobile vehicles, the statement notes.
Army officials say that the ISV will provide enhanced tactical mobility for nine-soldier infantry squads and all of their equipment to maneuver around the battlefield.
The Other Transactional Authority prototyping agreements were awarded off of an existing 2017 service contract, according to Giselle Bodin Lyons, a spokeswoman for Army Contracting Command.
GM Defense's ISV is based on the award-winning Chevrolet Colorado midsize truck architecture and its ZR2 and ZR2 Bison variants, proven in more than 10,000 miles of punishing off-road development and desert racing in the Best in the Desert Racing series, according to a GM news release.
"Our ISV entry is a fully integrated platform that leverages decades of GM's engineering, manufacturing and quality expertise at scale to provide the most cost-efficient, reliable and effective answer possible to meet and exceed the Army's demanding requirements," GM Defense President David Albritton said in the release.
SAIC announced in early August that it planned to team up with Polaris to offer the DAGOR vehicle for the ISV effort.
"SAIC has a long history of performing vehicle engineering and platform integration work, and the Army has a need for small-unit mobility and maneuverability that can be easily met with the proven DAGOR vehicle that has been deployed around the world," Jim Scanlon, executive vice president and general manager of SAIC's Defense Systems Group, said in an Aug. 8 news release.
"Working with Polaris, SAIC will provide comprehensive systems engineering and integration using state-of-the-art tools and processes that leverage domain understanding gained through extensive field support and advanced experimentation in support of the Army to give the ISV a technological edge on the battlefields of tomorrow," it adds.
Oshkosh and Flyer will submit prototypes based on an ultralight vehicle that U.S. Special Operations Command selected for its Ground Mobility Vehicle 1.1 program in 2013.
If the Flyer-Oshkosh team is selected to build the ISV, Oshkosh Defense will be responsible for manufacturing the production phase vehicles between 2020 and 2024, according to an Oshkosh release on the award.
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at email@example.com.