In 2012, US SOCOM (United States Special Operations COMmand) put forth a requirement for a new lightweight, high-mobility, air-transportable vehicle in the 7,000 lb range in an effort to replace its aging stock of over 1,000 heavyweight HUMVEEs. With several contenders in the mix, General Dynamics was declared the winner over competitors AM General and NaviStar in 2013 with 101 vehicles contracted for out of a total 1,300 planned for procurement. The design - "Flyer-72" Advanced Light Strike Vehicle (ALSV) - has emerged as a highly-capable, special forces-minded multirole performer following the form and function established by the base Flyer-60 ALSV series.
The Flyer-72 is purpose-built for the rigors of SOCOM service, able to fulfill a veritable array of mission requirements through an inherently flexible design. This includes variable armament possibilities and payload options with a hauling capability of 5,000 pounds while being air-transportable in the belly of a Lockheed C-130 Hercules-class medium-lift fixed-wing aircraft or in the hold of a Boeing CH-47 Chinook-class heavy-lift helicopter. All-wheel drive with run-flat tires are standard (a spare is carried over the rear) and a roll bar protects occupants from accidental rollover. The driver is seated front-left with the engine directly. The center roof area seats an armament position which can support up to a GAU-19 electrically-driven minigun and additional machine guns can be fitted at each door on trainable support arms. The Flyer-72 can carry a full complement of nine combat-ready personnel (three across the front, three across the rear, two over the rear deck, and one at the center gunner's position) depending on the seating arrangement chosen. The Flyer-72 also supports a full communications suite with real-time access and provides all-weather, all-terrain drive power for service in virtually any combat environment. An up-armor kit is optional for increased survivability in directly contested areas.
Power to the vehicle comes from a JP8 diesel-fueled engine of 195 horsepower output. The engine is mated to an automatic six-speed transmission system with 4x2 or 4x4 wheel drive support. Maximum road speeds can reach 100 miles per hour with operational road ranges out to 650 miles. The Flyer-72 is balanced enough to handle a maximum grade of 60% and can ford 30" of water without prior preparation. Ground clearance is a useful 17 inches.
The Flyer-72 has also been under consideration by British special forces.
Manufacturing General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems / Flyer Defense LLC - USA
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