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Textron awarded $333 million contract for mobile strike force vehicles

Textron has been awarded a $333 million contract for up to 255 mobile strike force vehicles plus related hardware and services, the U.S. Department of Defense said in a press release.

“Textron Systems Marine and Land Systems, New Orleans, Louisiana, has been awarded a $332,900,000 firm-fixed-price contract for the procurement of up to 255 mobile strike force vehicles and related fielding hardware and field representative services,” the release said on Wednesday, October 18.

The 4×4 MSFV armored vehicle was initially developed for the Afghan National Army in 2011 and is based a stretched version the M1117 Armored Security Vehicle, part of Textron’s COMMANDO Select vehicle family. It uses some parts common to other U.S. military vehicles including the M1117.

Variants include one with the Objective Gunner’s Protective Kit developed for Up-Armored HMMWVs, another with a turret equipped with a 40mm automatic grenade launcher and the same .50 caliber machine gun used on the M1117, as well as an armored ambulance.

Afghan Mobile Strike Force Vehicle
A Mobile Strike Force Vehicle assigned to the Afghan National Army (ANA) at a rough terrain driving course on Camp Bastion, Helmand province, Afghanistan, May 13, 2013. Image: US Marine Corps/Staff Sgt. Ezekiel R. Kitandwe

The Defense Department said work locations and funding will be determined with each order, and is scheduled to be completed by October 13, 2024.

U.S. Army Contracting Command Warren, Michigan, is the contracting activity, and is the result of an internet bidding process with one bid received.

On September 28, Textron was awarded a $12.7 million contract for MSFVs for the Afghanistan National Defense and Security Forces. Earlier contracts for the vehicle include $56.1 million in September 2015 for 55 MSFVs for Afghanistans’ armed forces, $17.4 million in August 2015 for Afghan National Army training support, and $15.2 million in 2014 for MSFVs for Bulgarian military forces deployed in support of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. The company said in October 2015 that 621 MSFVs had previously been delivered to the Afghan National Army since 2012.

Afghan Mobile Strike Force Vehicle
A Mobile Strike Force Vehicle assigned to the Afghan National Army (ANA) at a rough terrain driving course on Camp Bastion, Helmand province, Afghanistan, May 13, 2013. Image: US Marine Corps/Staff Sgt. Ezekiel R. Kitandwe

Order shelved in 2014

In July 2016, Reuters reported that plans to provide around 300 more Mobile Strike Force Vehicles to Afghanistan were shelved in 2014, ostensibly for budgetary reasons.

U.S. military planners asked Congress for around $900 million in 2013 for the vehicles, to provide the ANA with “an armored force that has more mobility, survivability, and lethality than regular infantry units.” Congress approved the spending, but the order was put on hold and later scrapped “to address overall concerns about long-term sustainability and affordability,” Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump told Reuters.

Stump said U.S. officials decided to supply additional upgraded Humvees instead.

A 2014 report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said the vehicles were deteriorating due to a lack of spare parts, problematic maintenance training and difficulties for Textron personnel to reach sites were the vehicles were deployed. U.S. Army Contracting Command pledged to provide more contractor support by the end of 2014.

Afghan Mobile Strike Force Vehicle
A Mobile Strike Force Vehicle assigned to the Afghan National Army (ANA) at a rough terrain driving course on Camp Bastion, Helmand province, Afghanistan, May 13, 2013. Image: US Marine Corps/Staff Sgt. Ezekiel R. Kitandwe
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