General Dynamics Corp. won a contract potentially valued at $562 million to supply U.S. Special Operations Command with new four-by-four trucks.
The Defense Department on Thursday announced the award for the so-called Ground Mobility Vehicle, or GMV, program. The notice didn't say how many trucks the command plans to buy, though the number was previously estimated at about 1,300. The funding also covers spare parts, training and an electronic communications suite.
The Falls Church, Va.-based tank-maker beat out companies such as Humvee-maker AM General LLC, based in Sound Bend, Ind., and truck-maker Navistar International Corp., based in Lisle, Ill. for the seven-year deal. Much of the work will be performed in Ladson, S.C., where General Dynamics' Force Protection unit is located.
"This is an important contract," Rob Doolittle, a company spokesman, said in a telephone interview. "The SOCOM community is an important customer for us and this expands our relationship with them."
The vehicle must carry as many as seven passengers, weigh less than 7,000 pounds unloaded and be transportable in a CH-47 Chinook helicopter. The truck must also be able to fire its weapon in less than a minute upon driving off the twin-rotor aircraft.
General Dynamics may also benefit from international sales of the vehicle, or a similar version of it, especially in the Middle East. Countries such as Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have expressed interest in upgrading their fleets of armored trucks.
SOCOM now uses a version of the iconic Humvee, which entered Army service in 1985 and whose vulnerability to roadside blasts was exposed during the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
U.S. military vehicle programs face an uncertain future since the March 1 start of automatic budget cuts known as sequestration and last year’s strategic shift by the Pentagon away from the ground wars of the past decade and toward threats in the Asia-Pacific region.