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Force Protection Receives Contract For Specialty Armored Vehicles

File photo of Buffalo mine clearance vehicle searching for IEDs in Iraq
by Staff Writers
Ladson SC (SPX) Feb 08, 2006
The U.S. Army has awarded Force Protection a contract for approximately 19 Buffalo mine clearance vehicles, plus training and field support, the company announced today. The contract also includes an option for an additional 27 Buffalos that may be procured during 2006. The completion of financial details and the first deliveries are expected within the next 30 days.

"While the Buffalo has been used in operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom since 2003, this marks a decided emphasis on the incorporation of blast and mine protection into vehicles that will counter the long-term threat posed by IEDs in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the world," said Force Protection Industries Vice President Michael Aldrich.

The contract is the first issued by the Army's Tank-automotive and Armaments Command in Warren, Michigan. Under the contract, Force Protection will manufacture the vehicles and provide management and logistics support.

"We appreciate the significance of this contract award," said Force Protection CEO Gordon McGilton. "The Buffalo has been used effectively to detect and disarm thousands of suspected explosive devices over the past three years. The vehicle takes the punch so that our troops don't have to. This order shows that the need for this type of mobile, proven, counter-IED platform continues to increase."

More than 64 percent of U.S. combat deaths in Iraq have been caused by IEDs, which are often hidden in seemingly harmless objects such oil cans, tires or fake concrete blocks.

The design of the 23-ton Buffalo allows troops to examine such objects from the safety of an armored hull, operating a remote-controlled hydraulic arm and camera to screen potential explosive threats. Troops can then set them safely aside, or, if necessary, discharge them. Although Force Protection does not publicize the exact number or location of the Buffalos currently deployed, more than 50 of the vehicles have been delivered to the U.S. government since 2003.

"The Buffalo and Cougar armored troop carrier are the preeminent route clearance vehicles," said McGilton. "They have rendered Iraqi roads less dangerous to our troops. Their proven record of success shows that IEDs and other explosives can be countered and lives can be saved."

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