The US Department of Defence (DoD) has awarded Critical Solutions International (CSI) a $132 million contract Husky route clearance vehicles for Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
The vehicles will be built in South Africa by DCD Protected Mobility – CSI is DCD’s marketing partner responsible for selling, distributing and supporting DCD’s product worldwide.
In announcing the $131 946 942 firm-fixed-price, foreign military sales contract on 30 March, the DoD said the Huskies are second generation vehicles and that the contract also includes new production sub-systems, spare parts, storage, tools and diagnostic equipment, field service representatives, and training.
“Work locations and funding will be determined with each order, with an estimated completion date of March 30, 2021. U.S. Army Contracting Command, Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity,” the DoD announcement said.
The Husky comes in several variants, including the single seat Husky Mk III, second generation two seat Husky 2G and optionally manned Autonomous Husky, which can be controlled remotely. The Husky can be fitted with a wide variety of sensors, including ground penetrating radar, metal content detection system, laser radar (lidar), cameras etc. DCD has been exploring the fitment of remote weapons stations onto the Husky. Other mission equipment includes an optional Owl 360 degree camera system and SWAT III gunshot detection system.
The two seat Husky 2G was developed due to the longer duration of route clearance missions, resulting in less strain on the operators. It can detect, mark and interrogate landmines and IED threats depending on equipment fitted to the vehicle. An optional mine roller system can be added to the vehicle. Other additions are a nine metre long interrogation arm that can lift objects up to 70 kg, and a cyclone blower.
The 9 350 kg Husky has a payload of 2 650 kg and is powered by a Mercedes Benz 6.4 litre six cylinder tubodiesel delivering 201 horsepower and giving a governed top speed of 72 km/h and range of 350 km. All-wheel steering is provided for extra manoeuvrability. Typical route clearance speed is 3-12 km/h, as this gives the vehicle enough time to stop if it detects a threat. The metal detector and ground penetrating radar can detect a three metre wide path during route clearance.
In case the vehicle detonates an explosive, it has been engineered so that it predictably breaks apart and can be quickly repaired – much of the blast damage is dissipated due to the vehicle’s narrow hull and tubular wheel module design. Blast protection is STANAG 4569 level 4A and 4B (10 kg) and ballistic protection is STANAG 4569 up to level 3 (7.62 x 54 mm armour piercing).
Husky operators have survived over 7 000 blasts, with only three fatalities so far: one operator was killed by an RPG hitting the vehicle (the Husky has subsequently been fitted with an RPG net); another operator was killed when an IED detonated under a bridge resulting in the bridge crushing the vehicle, and the third operator was killed when the vehicle overturned due to a blast and he fell out because the roof hatch was unlocked.