- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 16, 2014

U.S. Special Forces operators needed an ultralight vehicle for complex missions, and General Dynamics Corp delivered the Flyer 72 Advanced Light Strike Vehicle. The Pentagon liked what it saw and asked the company to deliver nine vehicles for testing.

U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) will put the Flyer 72 through a battery of tests starting in December. If the vehicle performs well, then the Virginia-based company would start a large-scale production run. General Dynamics also manufactures the Army’s M1 Abrams tank.

General Dynamics designed the vehicle as a possible replacement for SOCOM’s Humvee fleet a part of a program called Ground Mobility Vehicle. The company received a contract last year that could eventually be worth $562 million for building 1,300 trucks, Military.com reported Wednesday.

“Traditionally, SOCOM has received vehicles from the Army. If the Army pursues [these vehicles] … all they have to do is buy [them] from SOCOM. SOCOM has now paid for development. They’ve established a logistics base. And now the Army is going to get the benefit of a vehicle that’s already been certified,” Sean Ridley, who manages light tactical vehicle programs for General Dynamics’ ordnance and tactical systems unit, told the defense news website.

The Flyer 72 has a payload capacity of over 5,000 pounds, can be configured to hold up to nine soldiers and is capable of being “guns up” in under a minute after exiting aircraft such as the CH-47 or a C-130, the company says on its website.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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