The U.S. Marine Corps has contracted Force Protection (NASDAQ:FRPT) Inc. to develop a lighter version of its Cheetah mine resistant ambush protected vehicle.
Under the $7.2 million deal, South Carolina-based Force Protection will deliver five redesigned Cheetah MRAP vehicles that officials say will be lighter in weight.
The U.S. Defense Department has been strategically shifting to the MRAP vehicle from the more vulnerable Humvees to better defend soldiers from improvised explosive devices and other ballistic threats in combat zones like Iraq and Afghanistan.
The new Marine Corps contract is for an MRAP design that is more maneuverable and has greater horsepower, which officials say can be achieved through a lighter vehicle.
“Achieving lighter base vehicle weight with higher available horsepower, without sacrificing survivability, gives our customer the flexibility to use the increased available payload and power to carry additional operation equipment and/or exterior armor solutions like our Force Armor for defeating explosively formed penetrators,” Mark Edwards, Force Protection executive vice president for development, said in a statement.