SOCOM Poised to Receive New Ultra-Light-Duty Truck

Flyer_cropped

General Dynamics Corp. is poised to begin delivering the first batch of new trucks for U.S. Special Operations Command, an official said.

The Falls Church, Virginia-based tank-maker plans to deliver in December nine of its ultra-light-duty, four-wheeled vehicles called the Flyer 72 (for its 72-inch width). The truck was on display this week at an Army conference in Washington, D.C., and resembles a super-sized dune buggy armed with machine guns.

General Dynamics, which also makes the Army’s M1 Abrams tank, last year won a contract potentially worth $562 million over several years to build 1,300 of the trucks as part of a program called the Ground Mobility Vehicle to replace the Special Operations Command’s Humvee fleet.

The truck can carry seven passengers, weighs about 4,500 pounds and is small enough to be transported by a CH-47 Chinook helicopter and C-130 cargo plane, according to Sean Ridley, who manages light tactical vehicle programs for General Dynamics’ ordnance and tactical systems unit.

The vehicle on display was configured for a mission to secure an airport or airfield, Ridley said. “Seven guys. Lots of guns. They’re dropping in and securing an airfield,” he said on Wednesday during the third and final day of the annual conference in Washington, D.C., organized by the Association of the United States Army, an Arlington, Virginia-based advocacy group.

SOCOM also bought some thinner, 60-inch-wide versions of the vehicle called the Flyer 60, which can be transported inside a V-22 Osprey, for a separate acquisition program.

“We took all of the history, all of the lessons learned from that narrow 60-inch vehicle, brought it into the 72-inch-wide vehicle and now those two vehicles share an enormous amount of commonality — they both have the same engine, they both support the same suspension, transmission, electrical,” Ridley said.

The Army could potentially save billions of dollars in sustainment costs over the long-term by using the Flyer for programs under consideration, including the Ultra Light Combat Vehicle and the Light Reconnaissance Vehicle, he said. The Flyer can be modified to carry nine soldiers, he said.

“Traditionally, SOCOM has received vehicles from the Army,” he said. “If the Army pursues the ULCV and the LRV and they take off and become programs of record, now all they have to do is buy vehicles from SOCOM. SOCOM has now paid for development. They’ve established a logistics base. And now the Army is going to get the benefit of a vehicle that’s already been certified.”

After delivering the nine test vehicles in December, the company will build 72 more of the trucks as part of low-rate initial production beginning in May, Ridley said. Pending further approval, the company would then transition into full-rate production, he said. The work will take place at the company’s facility in Anniston, Alabama, he said.

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.

(Story was updated to clarify the version of Flyer on display and correct the type of aircraft that can it can be transported in.)

About the Author

Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of Military.com. He can be reached at brendan.mcgarry@military.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.
  • Barry

    Perfect for Beltway traffic.

  • William_C1

    What sort of cannon is that on top? A M230? Impressive firepower for such a light vehicle.

    • Tony C.

      Hope you would have ear pro for that beast.

    • DBM

      Looking around the web I saw pictures of 40mm’s, GAU-19 Gatling Guns, M-2’s, 7.62 mini-guns etc so apparently they plan to mount anything but a 120mm main gun from a tank on it.

      • CBWoody

        Now you did. You said and now they will do it.

  • dubweiser101

    Oh baby! This thing would be a dream in rush hour traffic jams.

  • royrdsjr

    That’s a truck,under what definition?

  • Ben

    Holy hell. A mounted gun for everyone but the driver. Definitely born from the “best defense if a good offense” philosophy.

  • FormerDirtDart

    Despite what the article states, the vehicle pictured above can not be carried inside a V-22.
    SOCOM is acquiring two different “Flyer” vehicles from GD.
    The vehicle above is the ‘Flyer 72’, selected by SOCOM in the GMV 1.1 program, to replace the HMMWV GMV variants currently used throughout SOF units.
    GD’s ‘Flyer 60’ was separately selected for further evaluation last October to meet SOCOM’s requirement for a V-22 Internally Transported Vehicle (ITV)

  • Muttling

    The article ends with a mention of the HUMVEE’s vulnerability to “roadside blasts”, I presume IEDs. This thing couldn’t take a hit from a well placed grenade, much less an IED.

    Why not just stick with the good old DPV? They’re proven, fast as heck, and can carry a LOT bang.

  • kmccune

    Where are the tweels-Kevin

  • Robert De Brus

    Looks like a 30mm chain gun? That’s allotta bang there.

    • arthur old soldier

      an old m38A1 jeep with a recoiless rifle and a 50 Cal machine gun will do the same job and if the want this new vehicle to survive in combat you had better put solid rubber tires because as a sniper thats the first thing Id hit.and before you reply I admit the m38 was just as vonarable buy it didnt cost amillion or two to put in to combatI want my brothers to be as safe as possible ,but this is just plain stupid===The engtneers must have just graduated for the starwars cult

      • FormerDirtDart

        The old M38 also wasn’t able to carry 8-9 people, have a 2 &1/2 ton cargo capacity.
        It doesn’t have solid rubber tires, because that would be stupid. But, runflat tires are available.

  • chenowth6

    Chenowth, designer and builder of the FAV, LSV, DPV and ALSV, salute you for your success. Max and Chris Johnson and Mike Thomas (RIP) know that this is the future for both the Army and the Marine Corps.

  • jesse

    What about armor? Aren’t these a little light?

  • Markus

    ARMOR!? Exactly what I was thinking. If this is to replace the HUMV, that the article even points out ” ..whose vulnerability to roadside blasts was exposed during the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” I was wondering how it fares to a similar threat? By definition, Ultralight -makes me think it may not be best for Urban Pacification Role. But I’m sure that was thought of, and its role will avoid such a exposure. I would like to know what kind of armor it DOES have( even if its minimal).

  • JimL

    I love it. $432k each. No windshield, no armor, 7 occupants in body armor with guns, 4 side mounted full auto guns, one top mounted heavy gun, good winch, etc.

    Nothing like hot brass raining around you as you’re packed in like sardines.

    Wonder what station time and ingress/egress times kook like?

  • majr0d

    “If the Army pursues the ULCV and the LRV and they take off and become programs of record, now all they have to do is buy vehicles from SOCOM. SOCOM has now paid for development. They’ve established a logistics base. And now the Army is going to get the benefit of a vehicle that’s already been certified.”

    How does the Flyer address the Army’s requirement to carry at least 9?

    What does it cost in comparison to let’s say Polaris’ DRAGO?

    Be careful to not believe all the snake oil folks as GD tries to leverage a bigger sale. I asked these same questions at the Maneuver Conference and didn’t get an answer.

    • Reality

      You take all the SOF equipment out of the vehicle that is not required for ULCV add two more seats. I almost certain they (GD) demonstrated this capability last yer for MCoE. DAGOR publicly said its vehicle is $159k I’m sure once the SOF equipment is removed from the vehicle the Flyer is compatible in price with much more growth potential and modularity!

  • Ranger Rick

    I’m curious to know how loud these things are. I would think that some development has gone into making it as quiet as possible - given the kinds of missions for which it could be deployed.

  • Dennis

    The Polaris version is probably much cheaper and more reliable.

  • jamesb

    Yo!….$432 EACH????

    Why not just mount the gun on a pick-up truck like the rest of world does?

    • pale male

      f’n a!

  • Edjcox

    Maybe ok for run in and hit missions but it’s a death trap for patrol and urban warfare. One grenade one rpg one ied. 8 casualties. This vehicle has limited applications and GD is wrong thinking there going to sell the numbers there talking to a shrunk down army

  • pale male

    too fast to need armor

    • pukin dog

      can’t outrun an i.e.d..

  • mcs

    Only $432,307.69 each, what a deal.

  • Joe Biden

    So, ISIS will be sporting around in these in a few months?

  • RHenderson

    You guys are missing the point! They want ISIS to steal them so they will be easier to take out.

  • Reality

    The vehicle does not cost $432k, more like $300k which includes armor, C4, and many SOF unique kits! The 9 man is much cheaper as it does not have the gear required for SOF.

  • John Robison

    What future mission applications is the Army anticipating? Given current deployments this appears no more capable then a slightly modified Toyota Tacoma and perhaps only marginally less vulnerable. What am I missing? RLTW