The Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV) formerly known as the Ultra Light Combat Vehicle (ULCV), is a U.S. Army proposed airdroppable light off-road vehicle to improve the mobility of light infantry brigades. In March 2015, the Army changed the name of the ULCV to the Ground Mobility Vehicle. GMV is intended to be carried internally in a CH-47 Chinook or externally by a UH-60 Black Hawk. In order to be survivable but transportable, the GMV would be lightly armored and use speed, maneuverability, and off-road mobility to avoid major threats.
The GMV is part of a three-vehicle effort to develop lightweight, highly mobile ground vehicles for a light infantry brigade to conduct a joint forcible entry mission. The effort also consists of a Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) vehicle and a Light Reconnaissance Vehicle (LRV). The GMV and MPF are currently the highest-priority vehicles. LRV is not yet a funded program of record and is currently the number three priority behind GMV and the MPF platforms. It was suggested early 2016 that LRV is likely to be delayed until FY19 or beyond.
GMV is meant to be light and fast and deliver soldiers from a drop zone far from enemy air defenses or indirect fire systems. Five vehicles would carry a platoon headquarters, three rifle squads, and a weapons squad. The vehicle is seen as a "21st century jeep" to move troops around during an initial attack faster than the enemy can counter them with heavy weapons. Both the GMV and LRV are to replace sling-loaded Humvees in this role (but not for other units). Interest in the effort is expected on the scale of the U.S. Special Operations Command program to replace the Ground Mobility Vehicle, which also sought to replace a Humvee-based vehicle with a lighter and more air-mobile design. Airborne infantry brigades would use the vehicles to rush forces from their airborne insertion point to seize an objective, which would become a forward airfield for reinforcing and deploying heavier follow-on forces. After follow-on forces arrive and set up positions, the ULCV would not be as useful, but could potentially allow troops to operate for up to a week without support.
Army officials consider the GMV a needed addition to a global response force like the 82nd Airborne Division. Currently, airdropped infantry would be flown to a target area or driven there by trucks. Either way, they then need to dismount and walk the distance to their destination, sometimes for many miles while carrying heavy gear. The GMV would allow light infantry to be driven right to their destination, allowing them to be airdropped further away from potential enemy fire and use mobility to find an off-road avenue of approach an adversary isn't expecting, and not be fatigued once they need to fight. The idea was to acquire up to 300 vehicles by the end of 2016 at a unit cost of $149,000, which could decrease if a second increment was bought and stationed at installations for training; predicted dates were not certain as the entire effort remains subject to funding availability. Ability to be carried under a UH-60 Black Hawk in high/hot conditions is particularly important because battalion commanders cannot always get control of a CH-47 to carry heavier up-armored Humvees.
On 22 January 2014, the Army issued a notice to industry for a commercial-off-the-shelf air-droppable "Ultra Light Combat Vehicle" (ULCV). On March 26 an update to this sources sought announcement was released. The information collated was used to examine the benefit of an ULCV to support mobility for Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) soldiers. The information received was used by the MCOE to screen COTS solutions for a potential follow-on static display and proof of principal event.
A Platform Performance Demonstration (ULCV-PPD) was subsequently held at Fort Bragg between 9-13 June 2014, to allow potential contractors to demonstrate the capability of their vehicles. Because the effort was not at the acquisition phase, all activities and materials were provided at no cost to the government.
The PPD had vehicles demonstrate a range of threshold requirements including being driven onto and out of a CH-47 with a full nine-man squad and their equipment on board, ability to operate on various forms of terrain, be rigged and de-rigged by two soldiers within two minutes for sling-load operations, and others. Threshold requirements identify the maximum curb weight of the vehicle at 4,500 lb with a range of 250 mi (400 km). Six vendors took part in the technology demonstration and compared their vehicles to the Humvee as part of a global response force mission. The six vendors included the GD Flyer, the Boeing-MSI Defense Phantom Badger, the Polaris Defense Deployable Advanced Ground Off-road (DAGOR), the Hendrick Dynamics Commando Jeep, the Vyper Adamas Python V3x, and the Lockheed Martin High Versatility Tactical Vehicle.
In March 2015, the Army changed the name of the ULCV to the Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV). This created confusion, as the name is the same as the USSOCOM Ground Mobility Vehicle, whose replacement was recently chosen as the General Dynamics Flyer in the GMV 1.1 configuration, a variant of which was also submitted for the ULCV and LRV; the Army acknowledged General Dynamics' potential advantages because of the SOCOM contract but stated it is considering all options and will not sole-source their award.
In May 2015 the US Army issued a ULCV (GMV) market questionnaire, for which responses were due by 11 May. A second RfI was issued in September for which, responses were due by 11 November.
As a 'new start' program in its fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget request the US Army requested USD4.907 million in FY 2017 for Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV). According to the latest program-related documents, the service hopes to find a vehicle that ‘provides enhanced tactical mobility’ for an IBCT infantry squad of nine personnel and their equipment. The vehicle must be capable of moving ‘quickly around the battlefield, including the ability to execute medium-distance insertion operations using UH-60 [Black Hawk utility helicopters]’, the documents said.
GMV's concept is to provide flexibility for entry operations in permissive and non-permissive environments ‘to counter threat anti-access strategies by using multiple austere entry points via air-drop, air-land, and/or air-insertion to bring in combat configured units’. The Army said it plans to develop GMV to fulfil requirements ‘using a commercial off-the-shelf or non-developmental item vehicle’, for which a firm fixed-priced contract is to be awarded through an open competition. FY 2017 funding could be used for a contract award for ‘GMV test vehicles for destructive testing’ and initial production could be considered as soon as the fourth quarter of FY 2017 and full-rate production in the third quarter FY 2019, said the Army.
The following is the list of potential candidates, and a description of what they provided at the Platform Performance Demonstration: