The Army first proposed an airdrop-capable, light off-road vehicle for special operations forces in 2014. The GMV 1.1 was recently airdropped for testing purposes at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the Army announced Friday.
The vehicle will undergo six more drops before testing is complete at U.S. Army Operational Test Command's Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate.
Congress recently directed the Army to conduct a competition to procure its GMV 1.1 as part of the fiscal 2018 omnibus spending bill released March 21, according to Defense News, a sister publication.
Previously, the Army purchased General Dynamics’ Flyer 72 for the GMV program, in order to quickly get the vehicle out to five airborne infantry brigade combat teams.
For what’s likely the first time in history, the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division is having Marine armored vehicles modified for airdrops as the paratroopers consider adding the vehicle to their Global Response Force toolkit.
The vehicle has the potential to provide tactical mobility to special operators in urban and rural environments, and will be internally transportable by CH-47 Chinook helicopters, as well as C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster III heavy lift aircraft.
"This test truly is the conscience of the acquisition process," said Brett Womble, test manager for Project Manager Family of Special Operations Vehicles. "We simply want to get it right for our SOF users."
Every piece of equipment operators use has been independently tested and evaluated to meet current and future needs, according to Lt. Col. Greg Oquendo, the test division chief at the command.
“The GMV 1.1 will be become the standardized special operations combat vehicle with the operational flexibility to support the SOF core activities of direct action, special reconnaissance, unconventional warfare, and counterinsurgency operations,” he said.