Thomas R. Dou­glas

AM Gen­eral’s high mo­bil­ity multi-pur­pose wheeled ve­hi­cle (Humvee) is a rugged ve­hi­cle widely used across the globe in dif­fi­cult ter­rains and weather con­di­tions. The com­pany has re­cently ac­quired the Ve­hi­cles Pro­duc­tion Group of the US, a man­u­fac­turer of m

SP's LandForces - - FRONT PAGE -

Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent, Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment and Strat­egy, AM Gen­eral

Jayant Baran­wal (SP’s): How do you find the show? How is it ap­pear­ing to be as a busi­ness plat­form for AM Gen­eral? Have you met some po­ten­tial buy­ers? Thomas R. Dou­glas (Dou­glas):

It’s been a very busy show for us, meet­ing many cus­tomers and show­cas­ing dif­fer­ent prod­ucts and ser­vices.

We have been talk­ing to both our ex­ist­ing cus­tomers as well as new po­ten­tial cus­tomers.

Com­ing to a show like this is very im­por­tant to the com­pany. Lon­don is cen­trally lo­cated and there are a lot of peo­ple from around the world com­ing to our booth and in­ter­act­ing with our com­pany rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

SP’s: Which part of the world apart from the USA is AM Gen­eral is heav­ily en­gaged in right now? Dou­glas:

The com­pany is en­gaged in many dif­fer­ent re­gions around the world and that is based on the high de­mand for our Fam­ily of Light Tac­ti­cal Ve­hi­cles and our train­ing and lo­gis­tics sup­port ser­vices. AM Gen­eral has mul­ti­ple ini­tia­tives go­ing on in South East Asia, the sub­con­ti­nent of In­dia, South West Asia, the Mid­dle East, Latin Amer­ica and North Africa.

SP’s: Which coun­tries in Asia are ap­pear­ing to be the most promis­ing? Dou­glas:

A wide spec­trum of coun­tries rang­ing from Tai­wan, the Phillip­ines, Malaysia, Sin­ga­pore to Thai­land, In­done­sia, Aus­tralia, New Zealand have ex­pressed in­ter­est in prod­ucts from our Fam­ily of Light Tac­ti­cal Ve­hi­cles and our train­ing and lo­gis­tics sup­port ser­vices.

SP’s: You have in­tro­duced your right hand drive high mo­bil­ity multi-pur­pose wheeled ve­hi­cle (Humvee). Tell us more about it? Dou­glas:

Yes, the right-hand drive Humvee was de­vel­oped two years ago, specif­i­cally for the Com­mon­wealth coun­tries with an em­pha­sis on South East Asia and es­pe­cially In­dia. We have two right-hand drive Humvees that are cur­rently en­gaged in mul­ti­ple ve­hi­cle tri­als and demon­stra­tions in which the ve­hi­cles did very well meet­ing or ex­ceed­ing all re­quire­ments and ex­pec­ta­tions. The Humvee is the “Gold Stan­dard” for light tac­ti­cal ve­hi­cles and AM Gen­eral is the pre­mier light tac­ti­cal ve­hi­cle pro­ducer hav­ing pro­duced more than 1.5 mil­lion light tac­ti­cal ve­hi­cles, more than 3,00,000 of which are the world renowned Humvee. Build­ing world-class light tac­ti­cal ve­hi­cles is in our DNA. This is what AM Gen­eral does bet­ter than any other ve­hi­cle pro­ducer around the globe.

‘New tech­nolo­gies and tech­niques are the core el­e­ments of the Humvee’

SP’s: The mod­ern-day bat­tle­field has changed. Asym­met­ric war­fare is seen pre­dom­i­nantly in Iraq, Afghanistan and other parts of the world. Asym­met­ric war­fare calls for ve­hi­cles which are adapt­able, mine re­sis­tant, etc. What is your strat­egy? Dou­glas:

In­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies rep­re­sent the core el­e­ments of the Humvee. This is what makes it the light tac­ti­cal ve­hi­cle of choice for more than 50 na­tions. The Mod­ernised Light Tac­ti­cal Ve­hi­cle (MLTV), which we have here on dis­play at DSEi in Lon­don, is a sixth-gen­er­a­tion Humvee. It has an im­proved sus­pen­sion sys­tem, a more ro­bust chas­sis, and can sur­vive sig­nif­i­cant threats--both bal­lis­tics and blasts on the body as well as on the sides of the ve­hi­cle body.

SP’s: You call it the sixth-gen­er­a­tion ve­hi­cle? Dou­glas:

Yes, the MLTV is ba­si­cally the sixth- gen­er­a­tion of the Humvee that is known around the world. At AM Gen­eral, we have built more than 3,00,000 HUMVEES and more than 1.5 mil­lion light tac­ti­cal ve­hi­cles in to­tal. The MLTV in­cor­po­rates all our ex­per­tise and ex­pe­ri­ence in de­sign­ing, de­vel­op­ing and man­u­fac­tur­ing light tac­ti­cal ve­hi­cles and de­liv­ers it in an out­stand­ing pack­age. It is a big­ger truck. What we have done with the HUMVEE is evolve and im­prove it dur­ing its more than 25 years of ser­vice in over 50 coun­tries tak­ing lessons learned from the bat­tle­field and the com­mer­cial au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try.

In 1985, AM Gen­eral be­gan with the most ba­sic Humvee. You can con­sider that the first Gen­er­a­tion of Humvee. The gen­er­a­tion two Humvee ex­panded on the ex­pe­ri­ences that we had on the first­gen­er­a­tion Humvee, based on bat­tle­field tested ex­pe­ri­ence gained. Same with third and fourth gen­er­a­tion Humvees and now it is in its sixth gen­er­a­tion. So all of th­ese ex­pe­ri­ences that we have gained from de­sign­ing and pro­duc­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of Humvees, the bat­tle­field ex­pe­ri­ences, the in­no­va­tive de­vel­op­ments we have in­cor­po­rated into the ve­hi­cle from the com­mer­cial au­to­mo­tive sec­tor, have been in­cor­po­rated into the sixth gen­er­a­tion Humvee... the Mod­ern­ized Light Tac­ti­cal Ve­hi­cle or MLTV.

SP’s: When you said bat­tle-tested, can you re­fer to some bat­tles? Dou­glas:

Since its in­cep­tion in 1985, the Humvee has been in­volved in ev­ery ma­jor con­flict or dis­as­ter/emer­gency relief op­er­a­tion that the US has en­gaged in – do­mes­ti­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally. The beauty of this ve­hi­cle is that its de­sign is ex­traor­di­nar­ily flex­i­ble in that it can be con­fig­ured for a mul­ti­tude of mis­sion pack­ages to in­clude troop car­rier, weapons plat­form, am­bu­lance, fire­fight­ing, law en­force­ment and bor­der se­cu­rity. All the dif­fer­ent Humvee ap­pli­ca­tions have been tested.

SP’s: Which are your tar­get mar­kets for right­hand drives and what kind of suc­cess you fore­see and can you also give some break up of right-hand and left-hand drive sales? Dou­glas:

Our pri­mary mar­kets for right-hand drive right now are In­dia and South East Asia. Another is Africa and we have re­ceived in­ter­est from New Zealand. At some point we will take a look at Aus­tralia where they have an on­go­ing ve­hi­cle pro­gramme. The UK in the early stages of de­vel­op­ing the re­quire­ments for a pro­gramme that will be com­peted in three to five years and will have a right-hand drive re­quire­ment. We think that the right­hand drive will rep­re­sent ap­prox­i­mately 30-40 per cent of our sales in the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket. It’s a very big mar­ket.

SP’s: Can you give an up­date of the blast re­sis­tant ve­hi­cle and have you found global part­ners for it? Dou­glas:

Yes, we re­cently achieved a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone on this pro­gramme. On Au­gust 22, AM Gen­eral an­nounced de­liv­ery, ahead of sched­ule, of 22 of the com­pany’s Blast Re­sis­tant Ve­hi­cle - Off road™ (BRV-O™) to the US Gov­ern­ment. Th­ese 22 Joint Light Tac­ti­cal Ve­hi­cles in­cluded a fourseat vari­ant Com­bat Tac­ti­cal Ve­hi­cle that supports three dif­fer­ent mis­sion pack­age con­fig­u­ra­tions and a two-seat vari­ant Com­bat Sup­port Ve­hi­cle that supports a util­ity mis­sion pack­age con­fig­u­ra­tion for dif­fer­ent mis­sion roles across the full spec­trum of mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions. Th­ese ve­hi­cles are now en­gaged in a rig­or­ous test­ing pro­gramme by the US Gov­ern­ment and a con­tract de­ci­sion will be made in the 2015 time frame.

The BRV-O™ rep­re­sents more than a decade of AM Gen­eral in­vest­ment in re­search, de­vel­op­ment and test­ing for this next-gen­er­a­tion ve­hi­cle for the US Army and Ma­rine Corps. There has been sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­est in the BRV-O by in­ter­na­tional coun­tries. Aus­tralia has ex­pressed an in­ter­est in JLTV and we con­ducted a ve­hi­cle demon­stra­tion for some of their rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Ad­di­tion­ally, we have also talked to the UK.

SP’s: Is there any cen­tral point of con­tact for af­ter sales main­te­nance and spares for your Asian cus­tomers? Dou­glas:

No we do not have a ge­o­graph­i­cally cen­tralised dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tem. We gen­er­ally work through lo­cal part­ners.

SP’s: Tell us what is lat­est in AM Gen­eral? Dou­glas:

We have been very busy at AM Gen­eral. Our busi­ness de­vel­op­ment team has been work­ing to se­cure new pro­duc­tion or­ders at our Mil­i­tary As­sem­bly Plant and we are close to fi­nal­is­ing the first of a num­ber of in­ter­na­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties which will ex­tend HMMWV pro­duc­tion well into the fu­ture. In­ter­na­tion­ally, there is con­sid­er­able de­mand for the HMMWV. More than 50 armed forces of other na­tions use HMMWVs for de­fence, home­land se­cu­rity and dis­as­ter re­sponse mis­sions. This in­cludes HMMWVs de­signed with ar­moured troop shel­ters pro­duced for Afghanistan se­cu­rity forces. AM Gen­eral has also in­tro­duced the first true right­hand drive HMMWV, not a kit, for more than 70 coun­tries that re­quire that ca­pa­bil­ity – of­fer­ing the most proven, adapt­able, ver­sa­tile and af­ford­able light tac­ti­cal ve­hi­cle in the world as right-hand drive for the first time. AM Gen­eral also un­veiled another new of­fer­ing for the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket: the Mod­ernised Light Tac­ti­cal Ve­hi­cle with NATO and Euro­pean Stan­dard EN-level ar­mor pro­tec­tion that is scal­able to meet dif­fer­ing mis­sion re­quire­ments.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the Depart­ment of De­fense se­lected our Joint Light Tac­ti­cal Ve­hi­cle (JLTV) team for a $64.5-mil­lion, Engineering, Man­u­fac­tur­ing and De­vel­op­ment (EMD) phase con­tract to pro­duce and de­liver 22 Blast Re­sis­tant Ve­hi­cle – Off road pro­to­types for gov­ern­ment test­ing. This is the next phase of the ac­qui­si­tion process for this pro­gramme that could po­ten­tially lead to a multi­bil­lion-dol­lar con­tract to built tens of thou­sands of th­ese ve­hi­cles.

Also, util­is­ing ground-break­ing tech­nolo­gies for greater per­for­mance and mis­sion flex­i­bil­ity, AM Gen­eral’s in­no­va­tive GMV 1.1 so­lu­tion for do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional rapidly de­ploy­able forces demon­strates un­matched power and mo­bil­ity and is specif­i­cally de­signed to be de­ployed quickly from in­side a C/MH- 47 / CH-53 he­li­copter. The GMV 1.1 is a plat­form that can evolve to meet spe­cific op­er­a­tional needs by in­cor­po­rat­ing a va­ri­ety of Gov­ern­ment Fur­nished Equip­ment to meet mis­sion re­quire­ments. It has 70 per cent parts com­mon­al­ity with the cur­rent HMMWV, which sig­nif­i­cantly re­duces ex­penses for parts, main­te­nance and train­ing at a time of in­creas­ing pres­sure on de­fence bud­gets.

Ad­di­tion­ally, through our Ser­vice Parts and Lo­gis­tics Or­ga­ni­za­tion (SPLO), the com­pany con­tin­ues to sup­port HMMWV re-set and re-cap ef­forts by work­ing closely with its US Gov­ern­ment cus­tomer at its de­pots. The SPLO di­vi­sion also pro­vides the US Gov­ern­ment and friendly for­eign na­tions myr­iad ser­vices to in­clude ve­hi­cle spare parts and world­wide train­ing and lo­gis­tics sup­port.

Fi­nally, in Septem­ber AM Gen­eral an­nounced it had reached an agree­ment to pur­chase The Ve­hi­cle Pro­duc­tion Group (VPG). VPG is a Michi­gan-based com­pany that orig­i­nally de­vel­oped and man­u­fac­tured the ac­claimed MV-1, the only Amer­i­can­built ve­hi­cle specif­i­cally de­signed from the ground up to meet or ex­ceed the needs of wheel­chair pas­sen­gers and the guide­lines of the Amer­i­cans with Dis­abil­i­ties Act. Pre­vi­ously, AM Gen­eral acted solely as the ve­hi­cle as­sem­bler for VPG. Fol­low­ing this trans­ac­tion, AM Gen­eral will own and op­er­ate the MV-1 busi­ness.

The agree­ment cre­ates a path to form a new com­pany called “Mo­bil­ity Ven­tures LLC”, which will ac­quire the as­sets of VPG. Pro­duc­tion, sales and prod­uct de­vel­op­ment of the MV-1 is ex­pected to re­sume in ap­prox­i­mately 45 days, with AM Gen­eral bring­ing more than 50 years of ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge in the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try to the ben­e­fit of pas­sen­gers who rely on spe­cialty ve­hi­cles such as the MV-1.

As­sem­bly of the ve­hi­cles will con­tinue to oc­cur at AM Gen­eral’s world-class, 6,75,000-square-foot Com­mer­cial As­sem­bly Plant in Mishawaka, Indiana, which is fully tooled for the MV-1 and ready to re­sume ve­hi­cle as­sem­bly.

The MV-1 is the only ve­hi­cle in its class avail­able with a fac­tory-in­stalled clean­burn­ing com­pressed nat­u­ral gas fuel op­tion.

SP’s: What is the pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity for Humvees in a year? Dou­glas:

While we will not pro­vide spe­cific num­bers for our Humvee pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity, I can say that we have a state-of-the-art, ded­i­cated light tac­ti­cal ve­hi­cle as­sem­bly fa­cil­ity that can read­ily tai­lor ve­hi­cle pro­duc­tion rates based on the needs of our do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional cus­tomers. We are the pre­miere Light Tac­ti­cal Ve­hi­cle pro­ducer in the world and are the only com­pany that can of­fer our cus­tomers this kind of qual­ity and ser­vice at an af­ford­able price.

PHOTOGRAPHS: AM Gen­eral

M1165 Right Hand Drive

MLTV

M1165 Spe­cial Ops

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