The US Marine Corps (USMC) has awarded three contracts totalling $148m to BAE Systems to continue providing support for its Caiman high-mobility, heavily armoured multi-theatre vehicles (MTV).

Under the first order, BAE will deliver 371 Caiman MTV rolling chassis with conversion kits, and adaptable under-body survivability kits. The company will also provide continental US integration and enhancements of 1,040 Caiman MTVs under the second order, while the third contract covers procurement of kits for a series of enhancements to the vehicle. BAE Systems Tactical Wheeled Vehicles general manager and vice-president Chris Chambers said that the new orders will allow currently fielded Caiman vehicles to continue to be upgraded cost-effectively.

"The upgrades provide an unparalleled combination of adaptable, high-level protection and vehicle cross-country agility, while retaining the Caiman’s ability to carry 11 combat personnel effectively," Chambers added.

The BAE-built Caiman MTV is an upgraded version of the Caiman mine-resistant, ambush-protected (MRAP) vehicle, incorporating new commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technology. The Caiman MTV provides increased levels of survivability and mobility to navigate challenging and unpredictable environments with an effective combination of interior capacity, tactical mobility, operator comfort and survivability. The vehicle features an enhanced monolithic floor, a strengthened chassis frame and highly effective blast-absorbing seats, enabling it to achieve high survivability levels.

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Additional features include greater vehicle track width, a strong independent suspension and an upgraded powertrain to support enhanced mobility. Work on all the contracts, awarded by USMC System Command, will be carried out at the company’s facility in Texas, US, with deliveries scheduled to continue into 2013.