Ultralight Vehicle Makers Seek Mideast Buyers

Ultralight Vehicle Makers Seek Mideast Buyers image
February 26, 2015 | Source: Defense News

Ultralight off-road vehicle manufacturers are not going light on competition for Middle East business at the massive IDEX defense show here this week.

The main American contenders — top-tier defense firm General Dynamics and recreational vehicle maker Polaris Industries — displayed their offerings for the US Army's nascent ultralight combat vehicle effort, seeking local customers as well.

Both all-terrain vehicles are sling-loadable by helicopter, weigh about 4,500 pounds and cost roughly $150,000. Both could be used in the region for run-and-gun operations over rugged terrain to fight an unconventional foe like the Islamic State group.

"We're following the threat, we're away from driving on main service roads, between forward operating bases," Rich Haddad, Polaris Defense general manager, said of troops using the vehicle. "The organizations you're dealing with are less than military and they tend to be light, mobile and fast."

Both have a nexus with US Special Operations Command (SOCOM). The GD Flyer 72's edge in this regard is its selection in 2013 by SOCOM as its Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV) 1.1. Polaris officials say the are delivering 15 DAGORs under a SOCOM contract, but are not permitted by the command to say more. (Polaris has delivered roughly 500 of each of its two smaller all-terrain vehicles to SOCOM, company officials will say.)