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Polaris DAGOR
Polaris DAGOR

Polaris Pitches DAGOR for ULCV

Truck makers have just submitted data to the US Army concerning potential candidates for the Ultra-Light Combat Vehicle. An army ULCV has to be big enough to carry nine fully equipped infantrymen, small enough to sling-load under a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter, and tough enough to parachute out the back of a C-130 or C-17.

UCLV is the first of what’s intended as a trio of vehicles for the 82nd Airborne’s Global Response Force and, eventually, other light infantry units. The unarmored, nine-man ULCV will be followed by a lightly armored six-man Light Reconnaissance Vehicle and a well-armed light tank called the Mobile Protected Firepower system.

According to a report in Breaking Defense, the objective is to provide a dash of mobility, long-range scouting and fire support to units that mostly move on foot. An Airborne unit with ULCVs could airdrop into a remote location far from enemy forces, mount up, and race cross-country to seize an airfield for reinforcements to fly into. This kind of capability is crucial to the Army’s quest to become more expeditionary, deployable and responsive after 13 years of static counterinsurgency.

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One of the leading contenders for the ULCV is Polaris, which last year sold its DAGOR vehicle to US Special Operations Command. DAGOR can already carry a full nine-man squad. It already meets the weight and mobility requirements for ULCV, and it’s already been sling-loaded under helicopters and parachuted out of airplanes in official government tests, so Polaris plans to offer it for ULCV as-is.

Nevertheless, Polaris is hardly the only competitor with a track record. General Dynamics will probably offer its Flyer, which won SOCOM’s Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV) 1.1 competition. The Hendricks Dynamics Commando is also in US military use, as is Boeing’s beautifully named Phantom Badger, in service with undisclosed special operators. Vyper Adamas has sold its Vyper vehicles to the military, although not the exact model it’s offering for ULCV.

In fact, of the six vehicles demonstrated last summer at Fort Bragg, home of the Airborne, the odd one out is aerospace giant Lockheed Martin’s High Versatility Tactical Vehicle, which derives from the British Army’s Jackal.