Textron Marine and Land Systems’ M1117 Guardian Armored Security Vehicle (ASV) provide better mine and ballistics protection than the Hummer, coupled with an armored turret that offers both mounts for advanced sensors, and firepower overmatch via a .50 cal machine gun and 40mm grenade machine gun combination in its turret. It’s a classic revival of the armored car segment, which had fallen into disuse but has begun to attract interest again.
The vehicle has traveled a lot of difficult roads, both inside and outside of combat. The US military was backing away from the project, until Iraq came along and military police adopted the 3-man vehicle. Textron had to undo production line shutdowns and rehire skilled talent, and they were just hitting their stride when Hurricane Katrina flooded their only factory in New Orleans. Textron’s offering definitely provides more land mine protection than a Hummer, but heroic efforts were required to get it up and running again. When the US military finally got serious and began buying MRAP vehicles, however, the stretched M1117 ICV failed the tests and was removed. This was actually the vehicle’s second competition loss, following Iraq’s selection of the Cougar-based ILAV Badger as its mine-resistant vehicle. American MPs continued to order the vehicle, however, and an artillery-spotting variant known as the M707 Armored Knight also picked up a few contracts. A small order came in from the Bulgaria, but the USA remains the vehicle’s sole customer of note.
That may be about to change, however, due to a formal request from… Iraq. One that has now been expanded.