16 September 2007

Marine ITV Update

The Marines spent many years looking for a vehicle for troops relying on the Osprey V-22 to get them to their destination. The only vehicle that fit was a WWII era M-151 Jeep. The Marine program was ultimately called the ITV program for Internally Transportable Vehicle.

American Growler, Inc. got the contract and delivered prototypes of a vehicle that looks like a cross between a World War II Jeep and a dune buggy, early last Spring. It has little, if any armor.

It appears that the proposed buy has been trimmed from 2,700 vehicles to 496 (or perhaps a hundred or so more). USA Today reported the the vehicles would cost $100,000 each (about the same as a Humvee) in 2005, and claimed strong links to the legacy M-151, a claim the company that makes them is sensitive to and denies.

At any rate, while the Growler certainly beats walking, it is the most feeble military vehicle designed to carry U.S. military personnel in hazardous areas in procurement today, and it illustrates the irony of the Osprey. The aircraft costs $85 million to buy, but the $100,000 vehicle and small contingent of Marines (two squads of Marines travelling by foot, or fewer with an ITV) that make up the spear tip it delivers in each sortie, is modest.

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