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FLYER Up-gunned and Protected

Addressing requirements of mobile light ground forces

Possibility less noticed among the larger displays at AUSA 2017, General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GD-OTS) showed a version of its FLYER 72 that goes further in addressing some of the key operational requirements of mobile light ground forces. Ideally tactical vehicles for combat seek a balance of mobility, firepower and protection.

FLYER has since its introduction demonstrated its abilities to excel in mobility. Firepower was principally infantry weapons and possibility a heavy machine gun. Protection had not been considered a priority by the users in fear of compromising mobility.

This FLYER is outfitted with the armour protection kit developed by GD-OTS and first shown at AUSA in 2016. It includes protection against small arms fire and fragments thereby allowing the vehicle crew to better use its mobility to escape an ambush or move through enemy fires. The package is designed in a manner that it does not compromise the agility and off-road performance.  Its objective is to offer sufficient protection to give the driver and embarked troops the margin to not take casualties and safety move out of the “kill zone”. Then they can respond to the threat with a regained tactical advantage.

Similarly mounting a 30mm auto-cannon in a remotely operated weapon station (RWS) further reinforces the FLYER’s combat capabilities, particularly in some mission tasks, like advanced reconnaissance and screening that are critical to the successful tactical employment of light mobile combat forces. This FLYER has a roof mounted 30mm Chain gun that is controlled from inside the vehicle. The M230LF Lightweight Automatic Chain gun is offered by Orbital ATK. It has a range of explosive and armoured piercing ammunition that are more lethal than the heavy machine gun.

Its ammunitions will soon include a new proximity fused round that is especially effective against dismounted infantry, open positions and even helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Concerns about the later were widely reflected around the AUSA. The RWS is stabilised allowing accurate firing while moving further complementing the FLYER’s mobility advantage on the battlefield and can have day and night/low visibility thermal sighting. The 30mm allows engagement of an array of threat targets including light vehicles at greater ranges. 

FLYER has already been fielded by US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and the US Army decided to also field it to the 82d Airborne as an initial Ground Mobility Vehicle (GMV) for light infantry units. It is in this later application with Infantry Brigade Combat Teams that the 30mm protected FLYER could have the greatest value. It provides a common platform for applications from the infantry squad carrier though the light scout/reconnaissance roles. This provides support, maintenance and logistics benefits for light infantry units with more limited resources in these areas. GD-OTS appears to anticipating and providing well thought out solutions to address Army light force needs.  

Stephen Miller


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