At the upcoming AUSA Winter event taking place in Ft. Lauderdale, FL this month, BAE Systems is introducing the Caiman Multi-Theater Vehicle (MTV) – a new configuration of the combat-proven Caiman Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle, implementing lessons learned from Iraq in a platform designed to operate effectively in Afghanistan. “As the requirements for MRAPs increase, the Caiman MTV is an essential solution designed to meet the tactical mission requirements in Afghanistan” says Chris Chambers, vice president and general manager GTS Programs. “With the most armor-protected useable interior space than any other MRAP, coupled with its all terrain mobility, this vehicle can handle both the extreme terrain and environment of the Afghan theater and the evolving threats our soldiers face there” Chambers added.
Through modifying Caiman capsules pulled out of Iraq, using reset staff and facilities in Kuwait, BAE Systems will be able to build up to 50 Caiman MTV rolling chassis insertion kits per week in theater starting in 2010. These vehicles could then be deployed directly to Afghanistan, relying on the logistics chain already in place. A vast majority of the Caiman MTV parts are already stocked in theater supporting different types of BAE Systems’ Family of Medium Transport Vehicles (FMTV) and Low Signature Armored Cab (LSAC) platforms.
The Caiman MTV maintains a balanced combination of protection, weight and mobility enabling the vehicle to withstand the large IEDs typical encountered in Afghanistan. The vehicle can also accommodate effective protection against other threats, including Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFP) and Rocket-Propelled Grenades (RPG). The enhanced monolithic floor, a concentrically-formed C-channel frame and high performance blast absorbing seats considerably improve protection from blast effect. The monolithic floor plate, employed on the Caiman MTV, eliminates floor separation during an IED blast comparable to the MRAP Capability Development Document (CDD) objective requirement.
The new version of Caiman is designed for a maximum gross vehicle weight of 69,000 pounds; It is equipped with a Caterpillar C9 engine and two-speed transfer case combination for increased torque to navigate harsh terrain. The vehcile has a wider wheel base and more robust independent suspension and power-train systems suitable for operation in harsh terrain. Unlike the 4×4 wheeled MRAP configurations challenged by excessive ground pressure, the new Caiman provides all-terrain mobility with 6×6 wheel soft-soil advantage. Nevertheless, the vehicle retains the interior capacity and survivability of the MRAP, providing effective, protected and deployable platform for specialized vehicles including Command and Control On-the-Move (C2OTM), an ambulance accommodating four litters and a medical crew or protected troop transport, carrying 10 soldiers and a gunner on troop transport missions.
BAE Systems claims the new Caiman offers more useable interior volume under armor than any fielded MRAP and therefore, it is ideal for specialized vehicle requirements based on lessons from Afghanistan. To support operations in cold or hot environment, the entire armored protected capsule is supported by a 5-ton HVAC temperature control system provides optimum climate control to protect soldiers and critical computer equipment from hot and cold extremes. The independent suspension system employs a scaled-up system developed by Arvin Meritor.
The new Caiman MTV was introduced to Army leaders at the Michigan Proving Grounds. It was then transferred to the Nevada Automotive Test Center (NATC) and participated at the Vehicle Systems Demonstration Technology Rodeo in Nevada, earlier this month. “The Caiman MTV performed extremely well during its recent demonstrations in Michigan and Nevada” said Dennis Morris, president, BAE Systems, Global Tactical Systems. “We are now in a position to field this platform very rapidly and support critical troop level increases in Afghanistan while being sensitive to extreme defense budget pressures.”