$18.6M for More Buffalo Mine Clearance Vehicles
Small business qualifier Force Protection Industries Inc. in Ladson, SC received an $18.6 million firm-fixed-price contract for Buffalo Mine Protected Clearance Vehicles. Work will be performed in Ladson, S.C., and is expected to be complete by Feb. 28, 2007. This was a sole source contract initiated on Jan. 27, 2006. The U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command in Warren, MI (W56HZV-06-C-0245).
The Buffalo is related to the Cougar family of V-hulled protected trucks, and incorporates a frontal blades/shovel attachment for dealing with IED land mines. It has seen service with a number of specialty units in-theater, as noted in David Axe’s recent coverage of the North Dakota National Guard’s 164th Engineer Regiment in Iraq. Also known as “The Claw” to some of the local Islamist paramilitary death-squads, it is heavily armored and has an outstanding safety record – but not a perfect one, and the reason why not is a truly classic story…
Noah Shachtman of DefenseTech, who was in Iraq, reports:
“I talked to several soldiers who had Buffalo-riding buddies injured by the handmade bombs — and by their own thick skulls. These guys would dig up an explosive with the Buffalo’s spindly claw. And then, they’d be so proud of what they found, they’d want to snap a quick picture of their prize. So they’d use the claw to bring the bomb right up to the Buffalo’s cab. And then, the IED would go off.”
It’s a testament to the Buffalo’s construction that even this didn’t get anyone killed.