DCD Protected Mobility has revealed that it is selling over 20 Husky 2G mine detection vehicles to the United States Department of Defence under the recently announced $132 million order with Critical Solutions International (CSI). The vehicles are ultimately destined for Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
According to Cornelius Grundling, general manager of DCD Protected Mobility, the contract is part of the contract awarded to its US-based strategic partner Critical Solutions International through the US government’s Special Defence Acquisition Fund (SDAF), making DCD Protected Mobility the first company in South Africa to have been recognised at this level.
The SDAF was set up to facilitate advance procurement of major defence equipment which was in high demand by governments allied to the US – to reduce the long delivery lead-times for these foreign military sales.
“The Husky is a central element of the route clearance package (RCP) required by many countries, demonstrated by the fact that we already deploy more than 1,500 operational units in the field,” said Grundling. “This contract is an added endorsement of the quality of the Husky range, and of DCD’s engineering capability to deliver over the next three years.”
He said that, due to the changing threat in the asymmetrical warfare environment, the Route Clearance Doctrine has also changed significantly to provide an integrated solution that includes detection, interrogation and neutralisation.
“Due to the changing threat, route clearance has evolved into a mechanised approach where the sappers are now fully protected behind armour…to perform the detection, prodding and neutralisation function,” said Grundling.
In announcing the $131 946 942 firm-fixed-price, foreign military sales contract on 30 March, the US Department of Defence 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 2G can detect, mark and interrogate landmines and improvised explosive device (IED) threats. The Husky can be fitted with a Route Clearance Platform Autonomous Control Kit (RC-PACK) so that the unit can be operated remotely for added safety.
The design of the Husky has meant that – in the time that the units have been in the field – operators have survived over 7 000 blasts, with only three known fatalities. In the event of a detonation, the Husky’s components have also been engineered so that they break apart in a predictable manner. This facilitates fast in-field repairs, while any damage to the system can usually be repaired in the field, increasing uptime and system availability.
The Husky comes in several variants, including the single seat Husky Mk III, second generation two seat Husky 2G and optionally manned Autonomous Husky. The vehicle can be fitted with a wide variety of sensors and optional extras, including ground penetrating radar, metal content detection system, laser radar (lidar), cameras, mine roller system, interrogation arm, cyclone blower, weapons turret, Owl 360 degree camera system and SWAT III gunshot detection system.
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 addition to the Husky, DCD Protected Mobility produces its Springbuck family of armoured personnel carriers. “The demand for these vehicles…has risen steadily with geopolitical instability in various parts of the world,” said Grundling. “We were also able to demonstrate this capability at the African Aerospace and Defence exhibition in Pretoria last year, which raised plenty of interest among countries in Africa and abroad.”