One of the more interesting future vehicles being developed for the U.S. military is the Grizzly Armored Personnel Carrier.
The Grizzly is a heavy duty Armored Personnel Carrier (APC) that weighs more than 20 tons and has been designed for use in urban combat environments such as cities and towns. The vehicle is being manufactured by Blackwater Armored Division of Camden, North Carolina. The Grizzly APC was scheduled to be in full service with the U.S. Army by 2015. However, delays in the production schedule have impacted that timing.
The Grizzly’s most unique feature is its armor, which can withstand 50 caliber rounds and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Other features of the vehicle include five gun ports, a ringmount roof turret that can hold a 12 millimeter machine gun and be operated remotely, halogen searchlights, and a Caterpiller engine. The Grizzly comes in 4x4 and 6x6 versions.
Troubled Testing Phase
The Grizzly APC has been hailed in defense circles as the future of urban warfare. The vehicle was featured on a Discovery Channel television program about future military weapons. However, despite its tough armor and blast protection, the Grizzly has encountered problems during testing with the U.S. military. The armor has passed various blast tests, but defense officials have found problems with the fact that the APC has a limited amount of armor on its forward area.
Blackwater Armored Division had planned to begin production of the Grizzly APC in 2007 at a 70,000 square foot factory in North Carolina. However, the U.S. production schedule has been pushed back several times. As of 2010, it was not clear whether the U.S. military planned to proceed with the Grizzly APC. There have been media reports that Blackwater Armored Division is trying to sell the vehicle to militaries outside the U.S.