With the US Army soon facing a surplus of hundreds of thousands of Humvees, Textron Systems has developed a set of upgrades that will extend the life of the iconic vehicles that it hopes will save lives as well.
Textron unveiled its Survivable Combat Tactical Vehicle (SCTV), which puts a monocoque hull and v-shaped onto existing vehicles, at the AUSA expo.
"This is basically a big brother of a Humvee," said Jonathan Dalrymple, vice president of business development with Textron Systems' marine and land systems unit. The modifications come in five kits, which the customer can hand pick for their preferred vehicle, but all five need to be installed before a vehicle can be properly called an SCTV.
The SCTV also sits higher off the ground, boasts a more powerful motor and brakes to accommodate the added weight, and has angled sides to help deflect rocket propelled grenades.
"For those being used in or near combat operations, they need some sort of extra survivability in this day and age, whether it be from an underbelly threat or a ballistic threat from the sides," Dalrymple said.
Initially, Textron plans on marketing around 10,000 units of the SCTV, which comes in ten different 10 configurations, to 25 foreign countries that may already have Humvees. In most of its configurations, the SCTV does not feature a weapon, making it easier to share with allies without worrying about upsetting the regional arms balance.
"The US State Department does not consider this lethal equipment," he said.
The Colombian army is testing three SCTVs, and could possibly invest in around 40 additional upgrades to its existing Humvee fleets, he said.
Another likely buyer is Ukraine, which has an obvious need for survivable transports, he said.
"In places where we have seen our partners going into the fight, or getting near to the fight in a school bus, now they can receive Excess Defense Article Humvees free of charge from the United States government. a And for a nominal cost, they can have a survivable piece of equipment to get their soldiers to and from the fight and in some cases fight in this vehicle," he said.
Dalrymple declined to specify how much it would cost a customer to modify a Humvee into an SCTV, but noted that it is more than $150,000 cheaper for a similarly survivable MRAP.
While some of the tweaks, like a powerful air conditioner and heating system absent from the Humvee, seem designed to make the vehicle more comfortable for its occupants, like a powerful air conditioner and heating system absent from the Humvee, safety is the driving factor behind numerous changes, he said. Those include run-flat tires, moving the battery and fuel cells away from the crew compartment, as well as a soft, thermal guard liner under the roof and blast attenuating seats.
"We're covering up all the sharp edges we possibly can in the interest of crew safety," he said.
Textron can perform the modifications in the buyer's country, so long as they can provide a garage to work in. The company can install the upgrades itself, or can teach local technicians to do them.
"Even a basic, two- or three- or four-stall maintenance center, is going to be enough to perform this upgrade," Dalrymple said.
In August, the US Army announced that Oshkosh had won the contract for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, worth an estimated $30 billion, to build the Humvee replacement. Lockheed Martin has protested the decision, with a decision due in December. Delivery is expected to start in 2018 and continue through 2040.