Textron’s M1117 Removed from MRAP Competition
Textron sees continued strong demand for its M1117 Armored Security Vehicle. Just not as part of the MRAP program. DID has covered the M1117, which remains popular with US Military Police in theater. Based on current and pending U.S. Department of Defense budget requests, Textron Systems Corporation says it expects to deliver about 530 M1117 ASV units in 2007, and “at least as many in 2008… despite recent notification from the U.S. Marine Corps that the company will not be receiving any additional delivery orders for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle (MRAP) program.”
“…through our participation in the MRAP program, we were able to make some design improvements for integration into the ASV platform that will produce substantial benefits for present and future customers…”
This could be code for the vehicles failing tests at Aberdeen. Defense News, for instance, said bluntly that:
“Textron Marine and Land Systems’ Armored Security Vehicle (ASV) was rejected by U.S. military testers… Clay Moise, a Textron development manager, called their test performance ‘mixed,’ and said the firm plans to continue developing the vehicle, which was substantially lighter than the other eight contenders’ entries.”
Lighter often means a protection tradeoff, and tests at Aberdeen are reportedly leaning toward the high end of likely threats at 30 – 50 pounds/ 13.5 – 23 kg of explosives. There are rumors that the vehicle simply failed testing at that threat level. At the moment, however, there is no official confirmation from any source.
Under the most optimistic possible view, the disqualification could also reflect a single-location manufacturer who experienced a major catastrophe and heroically rebuilt, but cannot realistically accommodate further orders at the levels contemplated by the MRAP program (almost 8,000 vehicles total over 2 years).
Textron Land Systems was asked about these issues and offered the opportunity to set the record straight, but formally declined.