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Cheetah MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV)
Cheetah Mine-Protected Utility Vehicle / Rapid-Deployable (MUV/R)

Force Protection Industries Inc. of Ladson, South Carolina, planned to compete in the US Army's competition to replace the HMMWV family. Neither the Buffalo nor Cougar had all the performance capabilities the Army was looking for in the next generation vehicle. Specifically, they lacked off-road capabilities. Force Protection's prototype, initially nicknamed the Lion, was said to weigh no more than 7 tons, but still offered the same level of protection as the much larger Cougar. The prototype vehicle was known as initially known as the Mine-protected Utility Vehicle / Rapid Deployable (MUV/R). The name "Lion" was dropped because the King of Swaziland's armored vehicle was named "Lion." The name "Kodiak" was also dropped because of a confict with an existing vehicle produced by Chevrolet. Ultimately the vehicle was named Cheetah.

The Cheetah MUV/R was a new armored vehicle with the same speed, climb, and general off-road performance capabilities as the HMMWV. At 10 to 12 tons, the Cheetah was designed to meet those requirements, as well as offer mine and blast protection. In addition, it incorporated a roof-mounted weapons system that was remotely controlled by the right front-seat passenger. A 360-degree battlefield required a vehicle small enough to enable a full range of motion and strong enough to take the punch of an IED. A lighter weight troop carrier was designed to fill this critical role. The Cheetah was developed with that purpose in mind, and was expected to be ready for active operations near the end of 2006.

Development of the Cheetah began in late 2005 as a contender for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program. The vehicle successfully passed testing to MRAP I survivability levels and subsequently underwent mobility and durability testing at the US Army's Nevada Automotive Test Center. The Cheetah was not selected as one of the final 3 contenders for the JLTV program.

In 2009, Force Protection and General Dynamics Land Systems formed a joint venture, Force Dynamics, in order to submit a common vehicle as part of the MRAP All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) program. In March 2009, Force Dynamics announced that it had been awarded a contract for 2 Cheetah light weight, high mobility Production Representative Vehicles (PRVs) as part of the US Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) program. The value of the award was $1 million. The 2 vehicles were delivered on 23 February 2009 and met the government's initial requirements.

In May 2009, Force Dynamics, LLC, announced it had been awarded an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract for the M-ATV Cheetah by the US Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command's (TACOM) Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) program. The IDIQ contract included an initial order for 3 vehicles for testing and evaluation and enabled Force Dynamics to compete for future M-ATV vehicle orders.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:47:53 ZULU