All-Terrain Personnel Carriers
Polaris Defense Announces Five-Year Award for Ultra-Light Utility Vehicles Jul 15, 2011
Polaris off-road vehicles can conquer almost any terrain — construction jobsites, hunting expeditions, forest adventures, desert destinations and even battle zones. It’s probably why the United States military is so interested in the company’s go-anywhere utility vehicles (UTVs). Polaris Defense, a division of Polaris Industries Inc., just announced that it has been awarded a contract to provide ultra-light utility vehicles to the Army National Guard.
“We are excited to have our Polaris RANGER utility vehicles selected by the National Guard to help with their homeland security and disaster relief missions,” says Polaris CEO Scott Wine. “We are proud that Polaris can provide a cost-effective and highly capable, all-terrain vehicle that can handle the critical missions faced by the National Guard.”
The five-year contract includes the Polaris RANGER CREW 800 and Polaris RANGER 6x6 800 side-by-side vehicles, as well as accessories and training. The competitively awarded contract has a ceiling value of $67 million over the contract period. Polaris intends to build the ultra-light utility vehicles for this contract, at its Spirit Lake, Iowa, facility, which has recently added over 270 full-time and seasonal jobs to meet the increase in consumer demand.
“Polaris Defense is dedicated to providing quality vehicles that can perform to the high standards of the U.S. military,” says Mark McCormick, managing director of Polaris Defense. “This award underscores what our company can do in supplying great products, accessories and support to an outstanding customer like the National Guard.”
Navistar Defense Awarded $183 Million for MRAP Dash Ambulances
Navistar is a global leader in vocational trucks and engines — famous for brands like International, Workhorse and MaxxPro. The company is also a big player in the defense market, designing armored personal carriers for the U.S. military and beyond.
Navistar Defense LLC announced in May that it had received a $183 million delivery order for 250 International MaxxPro Dash ambulances with DXM independent suspensions. The order from the U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles falls under the company’s existing indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract and is Navistar’s ninth major MRAP variant.
“Survivability and mobility continue to be key capabilities required to help our war fighters complete their missions safely,” says Archie Massicotte, president of Navistar Defense. “Medics face the same threats on the battlefield and we are proud to provide them with a vehicle that offers both MRAP level protection and independent suspension for off-road mobility.”
The MaxxPro Dash ambulance is the company’s latest MRAP variant and follows Navistar’s November and December 2010 orders for MaxxPro Dash and Recovery vehicles. The company first unveiled its Dash Ambulance at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting and Exposition in October 2010 as a retrofit kit option for existing MaxxPro variants.
The vehicle includes an easy-to-use litter assist system, as well as a protected work space benefitting
medics and patients. This solution, paired with the company’s DXM independent suspension, helps medical aid navigate rough terrain to complete its mission. Navistar currently supports a fleet of more than 8,000 MaxxPro vehicles.
“All our MaxxPro units share commonality and this allows us to respond rapidly to changing mission needs with vehicle enhancements and fleet support,” says Massicotte. “This flexibility extends across our other vehicle fleets and is just one piece of a business strategy that moves us steadily toward our goal revenue base of $2 billion.”
Production will occur at the company’s West Point, Miss., facility. Deliveries were scheduled to begin in June and be completed by the end of September 2011.
In addition to the Dash ambulance order, Navistar recently received a $13 million delivery order for MRAP field service representatives, instructors and mechanics. The order was placed by the Marine Corps Systems Command under the company’s existing MRAP contract. Work will be completed in Kuwait.
Elevated Levels of Security
Diversified Product Development Helps Design Mobile Surveillance VehicleBy Bryce Goodell
In the desolate regions of southern Texas, many hunters have adapted their trucks to the wide-open terrain of the area. To do so, some have installed a raised deck in their truck beds, basically creating a mobile deer stand. Though this system has given area hunters a heightened advantage, it also sparked another idea for a completely different application.
Observing the benefits of the hunting vehicles, border patrol officials realized this system could also be used to see illegal immigrants crossing the border. In fact, some officials actually began asking to borrow the trucks so they could monitor this activity. After witnessing this demand for such mobile surveillance equipment, John Spence and Tom James identified the border patrol’s need for a more specialized vehicle and teamed up to form TerraHawk LLC.
Although the partners lacked extensive knowledge of the manufacturing process, they had the mechanical know-how to build a prototype, which was appropriately named the Mobile Utility Surveillance Tower (M.U.S.T.). Because this surveillance vehicle would often be used on rugged terrain, TerraHawk started with the chassis of a heavy-duty, four-wheel-drive van. Then, behind the driver’s seat, Spence and James installed a hydraulic scissor lift, which raised a climate-controlled surveillance capsule to an eye-level height more than 25 ft off the ground. To make the unit more stable, they also added electro-hydraulic stabilizers with a self-leveling feature.
However, the prototype wasn’t perfect. An engineer’s help was needed to improve the scissor lift and stabilizers, meet industry standards, determine proper components and set up production. At this point, TerraHawk M.U.S.T. project recognized the need for outside assistance, and one of its vendors recommended Diversified Product Development, a full-service design firm. Because Diversified had a wide range of experience working with mobile equipment and aerial lifts, the company was the right fit to help take the M.U.S.T. from prototype to production.
Initially, Diversified was asked to design a new specialized scissor lift for the vehicle, but after evaluating several options, the company recommended a more cost-effective approach. Rather than coming up with a new design from scratch, Diversified specified components from an existing aerial lift manufacturer to be used in the surveillance vehicle. By choosing this method, TerraHawk could save a significant amount of money while taking advantage of field-proven components. Besides coming up with a solution for the scissor lift, Diversified also improved the vehicle’s self-leveling system. This involved altering the existing setup with more durable components, as well as reducing the number of hoses and electrical connections to produce a cleaner overall package.
“Diversified provided us with the engineering experience and manpower necessary to take our M.U.S.T. vehicle from prototype to production,” says John Spence, TerraHawk LLC. “Diversified went above and beyond to ensure our vehicle is the best in the industry.”
Bryce Goodell is a public relations specialist with the Promersberger Co., based in Fargo, N.D.