The Flyer Advanced Light Strike Vehicle platform has been developed by General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GD-OTS), in partnership with Flyer Defense LLC, for the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) Ground Mobility Vehicle Program. The Flyer Advanced Light Strike Vehicle platform configurations are the Flyer 72 and the narrower Flyer 60.
The Flyer was designed to fill a need by special operations forces to have a lightweight, mobile platform that could be transported by air and be configured for a variety of missions. It can be internally transported by V-22 Osprey, CH-53E Super Stallion, CH-47D Chinook, C-130 Hercules, and C-5 Galaxy, and be externally transported by UH-60L Black Hawk. The vehicle can operate at high speeds at long ranges, off-road and in various weather conditions. It can be configured for many roles including light strike, personnel rescue and recovery, reconnaissance, and communications. The Flyer has a fuel efficiency of 24 mpg at 40 mph. Weapons can be mounted on a 360 degree ring or five patient litters can be carried. It also has an armored variant, with the 4-door cab, rear cargo area, and roofline armored to ballistic level B6.
The Flyer was offered as a contender in the GMV 1.1 competition to replace SOCOM’s fleet of 1,072 Humvee-based Ground Mobility Vehicles. Requirements in 2012 called for a vehicle that weighed less than 3,175 kg (7,000 lb) and could carry up to seven troops. On 22 August 2013, General Dynamics was announced the winner of the program, and awarded a contract potentially worth $562 million. SOCOM plans to spend $24 million in FY 2014 for 101 vehicles, each worth $245,000. 1,300 are planned to be in service by September 2020. General Dynamics expects the Flyer to have international sales, such as to the British Special Air Service. Several Middle Eastern nations have expressed interest in upgrading their armored truck fleets, including Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait.
In September 2013, AM General and Navistar filed protests over the awarding of the GMV 1.1 contract to General Dynamics. Both protests were rejected by the Government Accountability Office, so AM General filed a lawsuit against SOCOM for “irregularities” with the acquisition decision. The protests and lawsuit caused automatic stopping of work to General Dynamics for the Flyer. The lawsuit could have pushed back the planned 2020 completion date of GMV 1.1 acquisition. On 7 April 2014, the US Federal Claims Court rejected AM General’s lawsuit, allowing General Dynamics to resume work and continue with the contract. SOCOM reached a Milestone C decision on 7 October 2014, beginning low-rate initial production (LRIP) for 72 Flyer vehicles as the GMV 1.1 by 2016.
The United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) reportedly received a Flyer 72 in 2014 for testing under Project Westerly, a program to evaluate vehicles for the replacement of their Supacat HMT400 Surveillance and Reconnaissance Vehicle/Offensive Action Vehicles that entered service in 2003.