SOCOM On The Hunt For Vehicles That Fit In An Osprey

Fresh on the heels of its solicitation for a new MH-47 Chinook-transportable Ground Mobility Vehicle to replace the Humvee variant it is currently using, the U.S. Special Forces Command (SOCOM) is also searching for a vehicle that it can drive out of the back of a SOCOM-configured CV-22 Osprey and begin firing its weapons in under a minute.

In a June 18 “sources sought” announcement for the creatively-named “V-22 ITV” (Internally Transportable Vehicle), SOCOM insists that it is only trolling for some information from industry, but then lays down some relatively specific criteria for any submissions industry is able to put together.

The solicitation said that any submission to the program must include two “Critical Flight Mission Payloads,” one at 1,000 lbs., and another at 2,000 lbs., with a field installable weapon station mount capable of fitting the M2 .50 Caliber Machine Gun; the M240; the M249 SAW; MK-19; and the MK-47 Grenade Launcher. The 1,000 lb. variant must also be capable of fitting the MK46 5.56 Lightweight Machine Gun, and MK-48 7.62 Lightweight Machine Gun.

SOCOM wants the ITV to fit one driver, two passengers, and a field removable gunners seat, while also be capable of carrying either three or six casualty litters “such that the casualties will not extend horizontally outside the vehicle and rescue personnel will have access to all patients” and have a crush resistant roll cage.

The platform is also expected to be able to move, and do so pretty fast and for distances: SOCOM is calling for a design that will be capable of traveling 350 miles to 450 miles “at 45 mph on level paved roads using organic fuel tank(s), without refuel, and exclusive of onboard fuel storage cans,” and it will also have a top speed of 65 to 75 mph.

At the moment, SOCOM has taken delivery of 24 of a planned 50 Ospreys, with the remainder making their way to the Air Force’s Special Operations Command by the end of 2015.

Of course, being a special operator means that you have to stay silent as much a possible, but also stay in communication with other teams and/or commanders. With that in mind, SOCOM wants a vehicle that can kick out continuous electrical power—with the engine off—to operate a manpack radio for four to twelve hours (the 2,000 lb. and 1,000 lb variant respectively), “with a Power Management System to prevent discharging the starter system beyond the capability of restarting the engine under operational conditions after the Silent Watch period” ends.

So….that’s all. Let’s see what industry’s got. They have until July 6 to submit responses.

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Paul McLeary

McLeary covers national security policies at the White House, Pentagon, the Hill, and State Department.
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