The Flyer was designed to fill a need by special operations forces to have a lightweight, mobile platform that could be transported by air and be configured for a variety of missions. It can be internally transported by V-22 Osprey, CH-53E Super Stallion, CH-47D Chinook, C-130 Hercules, and C-5 Galaxy, and be externally transported by UH-60L Black Hawk. The vehicle can operate at high speeds at long ranges, off-road and in various weather conditions. It can be configured for many roles including light strike, personnel rescue and recovery, reconnaissance, and communications. The Flyer has a fuel efficiency of 24 mpg at 40 mph. Weapons can be mounted on a 360 degree ring or five patient litters can be carried. It also has an armored variant, with the 4-door cab, rear cargo area, and roofline armored to ballistic level B6.
The Flyer was offered as a contender in the GMV 1.1 competition to replace SOCOM’s fleet of 1,072 Humvee-based Ground Mobility Vehicles. Requirements in 2012 called for a vehicle that weighed less than 7,000 lb and could carry up to seven troops. On 22 August 2013, General Dynamics was announced the winner of the program, and awarded a contract potentially worth $562 million. SOCOM plans to spend $24 million in FY 2014 for 101 vehicles, each worth $245,000. 1,300 are planned to be in service by September 2020. General Dynamics expects the Flyer to have international sales, such as to the British Special Air Service. Several Middle Eastern nations have expressed interest in upgrading their armored truck fleets, including Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait.
Type Tactical wheeled vehicle
Place of origin United States of America
In service 2013-present
Manufacturer General Dynamics
Unit cost Unarmored: $245,000
Number built 1,300 planned
Variants open or armored
Weight 4,000 lb (1,814 kg) curb weight Length 180 in (15 ft) Width 60 in (5.0 ft) Height 60 in (5.0 ft) Crew 4
Payload capacity 3,500 lb (1,600 kg) Suspension Independent 4×4
450 mi (720 km) Speed 85 mph (137 km/h)
In September 2013, AM General and Navistar filed protests over the awarding of the GMV 1.1 contract to General Dynamics. Both protests were rejected by the Government Accountability Office, so AM General filed a lawsuit against SOCOM for “irregularities” with the acquisition decision. The protests and lawsuit caused automatic stopping of work to General Dynamics for the Flyer. The lawsuit could have pushed back the planned 2020 completion date of GMV 1.1 acquisition. On 7 April 2014, the US Federal Claims Court rejected AM General’s lawsuit, allowing General Dynamics to resume work and continue with the contract. SOCOM reached a Milestone C decision on 7 October 2014, beginning low-rate initial production (LRIP) for 72 Flyer vehicles as the GMV 1.1 by 2016.
In 2014 United Kingdom Special Forces took delivery of two vehicles for evaluation trials under Project Westerley, looking at options to replace their Mendacity Supacat HMT400 Surveillance and Reconnaissance Vehicle/Offensive Action Vehicle
Variants On 12 September 2013, General Dynamics was awarded $5.8 million evaluation contract for their Advanced Light Strike Vehicle, a lighter variant of the Flyer. They were awarded a 12 month evaluation and test contract “for a minimum basic quantity of 2 vehicles each with the ability to purchase 8 additional vehicles.” The ALSV is to be able to roll out the back of a CV-22 Osprey and begin firing mounted weapons within 60 seconds. The difference between Flyer variants for the GMV 1.1 and ALSV is that the GMV 1.1 Flyer is 72 in (1.8 m) wide while the ALSV Flyer is 60 in (1.5 m) wide to fit inside the V-22. Other than width, both versions share the same engine, and support the same suspension, transmission, and electrical systems.
General Dynamics is offering modified Flyer vehicles to the U.S. Army for their Ultra Light Combat Vehicle (ULCV) and Light Reconnaissance Vehicle (LRV) programs. With the Flyer already developed and certified, it would be cheaper for the Army to buy a vehicle with an established logistics base. The Special Forces Flyer 72 version had SOF-specific items removed and more seats added to meet ULCV requirements for a weight of 4,500 lb (2,000 kg) and a 3,200 lb (1,500 kg) payload, equal to nine soldiers and their gear. For the LRV, the Flyer 72 could have armor added, carry six troops, and mount an M230 chain gun.