BAE Systems and Oshkosh Defense have submitted their final bids to produce the Army's new specialized Arctic vehicle after completing prototype tests in the Alaskan winter, the companies said last week.
The Cold Weather All-Terrain Vehicle will replace the Small Unit Support Vehicle, which has been in service since the 1980s and reaches obsolescence in fiscal year 2023, an Army official said last year when BAE and Oshkosh won CATV prototype contracts.
Both CATV prototypes are tracked vehicles that can operate in the snow, mud and extreme cold that confront Arctic operations. The vehicle was included in the Arctic strategy that the Army released last year, which included plans for a multidomain task force focused on the region.
Temperatures approached 50 degrees below zero during testing of BAE’s offering, the Beowulf, the company said in a March 23 press release.
“Beowulf performed in multiple tasks while remaining fully mission-capable during the prototype evaluation phase in Alaska that began in June and ended earlier this year,” the press release stated. “The testing included amphibious operations, navigating terrain with varying levels of complexity, starting and operating in extreme cold weather, and most critically, user assessment by soldiers.”
The vehicle is an unarmored version of the BvS10, which the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Norway and Austria already use, BAE has previously said. BAE Hagglunds, a Swedish division of the company, has collaborated on the program.
Oshkosh’s proposal “successfully completed” the prototype evaluation process, Pat Williams, vice president and general manager of Army and Marine Corps programs, wrote in a March 25 statement to Inside Defense. Oshkosh teamed with ST Engineering on the CATV program, for which it has offered the Singaporean company’s Bronco 3.
“We will defer to the U.S. Army for specifics regarding the evaluation of the prototypes, but extensive testing and user evaluation proved that the Oshkosh Defense CATV meets or exceeds program requirements,” Williams wrote.
The Army plans to award one of the competitors a production contract in June, using procurement funding from FY-21 and FY-22, according to FY-22 budget documents. The procurement objective is 110 vehicles, while the acquisition objective is 163, a service official said last year.
The FY-23 budget request includes funding for 13 vehicles, the Army said earlier this week.
There will be general-purpose and cargo variants of the CATV, the Army has said. General-purpose variants should carry at least 10 soldiers, including the driver.