Navistar’s MXT Makes Breakthrough in Britain
At the end of October 2008, Britain’s Ministry of Defence announced a GBP 700 million program to buy a wide range of survivable vehicles for logistics and support duties in Afghanistan, as well as some specialized functions like mine clearing. On Nov 19/08, the UK MoD announced preferred bidders for the 3 classes of Tactical Support Vehicles (TSVs). A variant of the Cougar MRAP would serve as the heavy Wolfhound TSV, while a 6×6 variant of the Supacat HMT all-terrain patrol vehicle would serve as the Coyote Light TSV for off-road use.
Navistar’s MXT light truck was the preferred bidder in the medium Husky TSV category – and that win may position Navistar for another big win in a subsequent British competition…
Navistar announced contract negotiations to provide 260 Husky TSV medium vehicles based on its International MXT platform, and anticipated that the contract will be signed in early 2009. A contract for 262 vehicles was signed in April 2009, and a September 2010 follow-on contract brought the total to 351 vehicles.
Navistar’s MXT is designed to fill a gap. Smaller armored 4×4 like the Hummer have limitations regarding payload and protection. On the other hand, larger Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles may have issues with lighter bridges, or with certain kinds of terrain due to their greater weight and higher center of gravity. General Dynamics MOWAG’s Eagle IV, which is based on a Duro truck chassis instead of the Hummer chassis common to EAGLE I-III vehicles, is another example in this category.
Like the Eagle IV, which maxes out at NATO STANAG 2a, the Husky appears to be a standard flat-bottomed chassis with extra armor protection. The Husky will come in 3 vehicle types: Utility, Ambulance, and Command Vehicle. All variants will be powered by 300hp MaxxForce D 6.0L V8 engines, with 530 foot-pounds of torque at 3,000 rpm. The vehicles themselves weigh 15,300 pounds, as opposed to the 9,000 or so pounds of an M1114 up-armored Hummer. A Husky’s a chassis payload capacity is 4,000 pounds, with a total Gross Vehicle Weight (max. recommended) around 19,000 pounds instead of the Hummer’s 12,000 or so, and a towing capacity of 26,000 pounds. To assist with long term maintenance, the vehicles are fitted with Diamond Logic diagnostic systems.
The Husky vehicles will be produced at Navistar’s West Point, MS assembly plant, which has produced around 8,000 MaxxPro MRAP vehicles. British firm Dytecna in Malvern will then add “government-furnished” systems and gear specific to the UK military.
The Husky contract follows Navistar’s selection in October 2008 as one of 9 finalists to compete to replace the U.K.’s Operational Utility Vehicle Systems (OUVS) program to replace light Land Rover, Wolf, Reynolds Boughton RB-44, and Pinzgauer vehicles. Britain recently declined to participate in the American/Australian JLTV program, on the grounds that OUVS was primarily about logistics support rather than patrol vehicles, while patrolling was a heavy emphasis for JLTV. Given the frequent use of Land Rover Snatch as a patrol vehicle, and the accompanying controversies and casualties, this is a somewhat surprising rationale, but Britain’s 400 Iveco Panther CLV vehicles are expected to fill that JLTV-type role.
Navistar’s OUVS submissions is also based on their MXT, and current estimates place the opportunity at more than 4,000 vehicles.
Contracts and Key Events
December 2013: UOR to Core. The Ministry’s Defence Equipment & Sustainment group confirms that blast-resistant vehicles will become something of a ‘new normal’ for Britain’s Army. Many of the blast-resistant Protected Patrol Vehicles (PPV) covered here will be sustained as long-term additions to the force, including about 325/ 351 Husky MXT 4×4 medium supply vehicles. DE&S acknowledges that these numbers are approximate, and in many cases, the differences can be explained by the toll of battle. Vehicles that have survived will go through “regeneration” to make repairs, convert some vehicles to different roles, bring them into line with UK regulations for local use, etc. DE&S:
“Also included is a range of ancillary equipment procured at short notice to provide additional safety features to the deployed fleets, including minerollers, emergency lighting and egress equipment and rollover protection. The vehicles will now form the backbone of patrol capabilities for Army 2020… Husky, Mastiff and Ridgback will be issued to protected mobility infantry battalions, combat support and combat service support units. Jackal and Coyote will be used by some of the newly-badged light cavalry units…. The estimated cost for the minor work, conversions and support is thought to be in the region of [GBP] 300 million over four years.”
Sources: UK DE&S Desider magazine, “Protected Vehicles From UOR to core”.
Sept 7/10: Navistar Defense, LLC announces a $56 million follow-on delivery order from the UK MoD for another 89 Husky vehicles, in the utility configuration. Deliveries are scheduled to begin at the end of October 2010 and will be completed in early 2011.
June 30/09: Navistar announces its disappointment at their loss in the $3.3 billion, 5,244 vehicle American MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle program, while reiterating their firms’ strong points for investors. The firm had entered a derivative of the MXT Husky. Read “M-ATV: A Win, at Last, for Oshkosh” for more.
89 Husky MXTs
April 5/09: The UK MoD announces that work has started on a fleet of 262 Husky vehicles, under a contract worth almost GBP 120 million. The vehicles will be used for a variety of roles, including light transport of food, water and ammunition; acting as a command vehicle at headquarters; and protected ambulances.
The MoD also announces that the British firm Dytecna in Malvern will carry out specified vehicle modifications upon arrival, and install various electronic and communication systems.
Navistar Defense announces the contract’s value as $180 million.
Nov 19/08: UK MoD announces the preferred bidders for the Tactical Support Vehicle (TSV) contracts. Contracts must still be finalized and signed before any purchases can be made, and impasses in negotiations are possible, but this does not happen often. UK MoD release | Navistar release.
262 Husky MXTs
Oct 29/08: UK MoD announces a GBP 700 million program to buy improved protection vehicles for the Afghan front.