The Desert Patrol Vehicle (DPV) utilizes a modified construction frame like those found in base off-road race cars. Suspension consists of two frontal shock absorbers and four shock absorbers positioned in the rear. The suspension is controlled primarily by a position-sensitive 'trailing-arm' system. The DPV is actually a 2x4 off-road vehicle, though designed to go anywhere a 4x4 could naturally go. Power is derived from a Volkswagen 2-liter, 200 horsepower air-cooled engine that allows for speeds above 60 miles per hour and a range equal to 210 miles. Range can be augmented by was of a fuel bladder than increased its operational range some 1,000 further miles. The DPV (then as the FAV) was developed in the 1980s with a generous budget and some 120 vehicles were produced as well as militarized motorbikes for special forces use.
The vehicle can be armed with a variety of mission-specific weaponry including the Browning .50 caliber heavy machine gun, the Mark 19 40mm automatic grenade launcher and the M60 .30 caliber general purpose machine gun. Ammunition stores are mission dependent. Additionally, and personal weapons carried by the crew become part of the lethality that is the DPV. Total payload for the DPV is a reported 1,500lbs.
The DPV was first unveiled to American home audiences in the 1991 televised liberation of Kuwait City. SEAL Team members were shown on their DPVs in the Kuwaiti streets complete with the traditional Bedouin headgear in place. The DPVs were able to maneuver across the desert and through the city streets with relative ease, staying ahead of the regular army forces while keeping an eye on Iraqi armor formations, location and defensive positions.
The DPV weapon system is extremely useful as a battlefield scout and reconnaissance vehicle in the special forces role. Other mission roles include target acquisition, surveillance, peacekeeping and deep strike. In large part, the DPV/FAV has been replaced in inventory by the LSV - Light Strike Vehicle.
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