BAE Systems has delivered two different M-ATV (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicles) prototypes to the US government for two months of testing and evaluation.
BAE Systems has armoured vehicle design bureaux in SA, the UK, the US and Sweden. The US and SA bureaux specialise in mine- and blast resistant armoured vehicles.
The M-ATV programme is seeking to find the US Army and US Marine Corps a next generation vehicle that has the blast-resistant qualities of the current mine resistant armoured protected (MRAP) vehicle and the mobility and light weight of the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV, Humvee, Hummer).
As such they must provide comparable protection from roadside bombs, explosively formed projectiles, and rocket propelled grenades when using appliqué armour.
A company release says the M-ATV was developed by BAE Systems` US Combat Systems (USCS) business unit “and is the product of more than 30-months of mine-protected light tactical vehicle development”.
USCS vice president and general manager Matt Riddle says the M-ATV has completed thousands of test miles and scores of blast and ballistic tests. “This vehicle has the survivability of an MRAP and the mobility of a HMMWV,” he says. “It has the optimum capabilities needed by our troops in Afghanistan.”
The vehicle drew on the developmental experience of the nine RG-33 MRAP variants, providing the same level of armored protection at a reduced vehicle weight.
The company quickly designed, developed, produced and fielded over 2000 RG-33 vehicles from 2007 to 2008 to meet the urgent government need for armored tactical vehicles. Much of the design work for the RG33 was done by BAE Systems Land Systems SA at Benoni, east of Johannesburg.
With a curb weight of less than 9 tons and “an incredibly high power-to-weight ratio”, the BAE Systems M-ATV “offers better dash and slope speeds than any other ground vehicle in the US inventory.”
The vehicle has a low centre of gravity to prevent roll-overs and ensure maximum off-road mobility. It features a rugged, commercial turbo-charged diesel V8 engine with a top speed of 80mph and best-in-class fuel economy.
The M-ATV comes features a fully independent suspension “that ensures superior mobility over rocky and steep terrain when compared to the standard straight axle systems of traditional MRAP vehicles”.
It also generates 10 kilowatts of vehicle host power and an additional 20 kilowatts of power for export and mission equipment.
The company`s USCS business is a leader in the creation and fielding of combat vehicles, including the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, the M113, the RG-33 series MRAP, the Medium Mine Protected Vehicle, and the Amphibious Assault Vehicle, and is the lead developer on several of the ground combat vehicles for the US Army`s Future Combat Systems.
A BAE Systems media release adds the company`s Global Tactical Systems (GTS) business submitted the GTS M-ATV prototype.
GTS M-ATV incorporates the many lessons learned from development of the prototype Caiman Light MRAP and the rapid development and manufacturing of nearly 3000 Caiman MRAPs from 2007 to2008.
“Our M-ATV provides urgent life-saving technology, multi-mission effectiveness, and operational agility not currently available to the Army,” said Regis Luther, Vice President of Light Tactical Vehicles. “”We combined the industry`s best in combat vehicle survivability and mine blast resistant platforms to develop our M-ATV.”
Luther says the GTS M-ATV balances the priority for crew protection and tactical mobility requirements against the rapid transition to high-rate production, vehicle delivery, and life-cycle sustainment requirements.
“We integrate modular EFP and RPG protection systems into a highly survivable M-ATV baseline chassis,” Luther said. “Our combat-proven RPG protection is the system of choice for lightweight RPG protection for blast resistant vehicles currently in theatre.”
Luther adds BAE Systems has a proven record of rapid production ramp-up and delivery of critical tactical vehicles.
He notes that in 2006 it designed and tested the Caiman MRAP in an unprecedented contract to delivery time of 43 days.
In 22 months of production, 2868 Caimans were built. Caiman is one of the US Army`s most successful MRAPs in Iraq and boasts unmatched dependability, survivability and a 94 percent operational readiness rate.
GTS MAT-V and its Caiman predecessor come from a long line of battle-tested, combat-proven tactical vehicles in the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicle (FMTV) line.
This arrangement allows the GTS MAT-V to share a full 90 percent of its automotive systems with the FMTV. The GTS M-ATV and FMTV also use the common armor systems, power generation systems, seats, windows, and fire suppression systems, which greatly reducing logistics requirements Army-wide.