Oshkosh Defense is considered as one of the leading providers of tactical wheeled vehicles and life cycle sustainment services. With its wide range of vehicle systems and other solutions, the company seeks to meet the needs of its customers in the Middle East region and worldwide.
In that context, SDArabia held a special interview with Oshkosh Defense Regional Vice President, Middle East and North Africa, Col (Retired) Bill Mooney, who updated us on the company’s participation at Sofex 2016 and its latest activities in the Middle East.
- What brings Oshkosh Defense to Sofex 2016?
The Jordanian armed forces have been a customer of Oshkosh defense for many years, so we’re happy to support both them and this important event; but what really brings us back here year after year is the number and quality of delegations we see at Sofex. We’ve already had wonderful and meaningful meetings and discussions with our customers which is really the best part about being here.
- What can you tell us about the JLTV vehicle you have on display?
The JLTV is the US army’s recent selection to replace the Humvee vehicle for both the US army and the US marine corps, which is part of a very large contract that Oshkosh Defense has been awarded. We will produce over 17,500 in the first contract and the total requirement of the vehicles for both sides will be over 55,000 vehicles.
This presents a unique opportunity for our international customers to take advantage of this economy of scale and get what is considered as the world’s best vehicle in the class of light protected vehicles. It is the only vehicle in this category that is air transportable.
Unlike many vehicles, such as the Humvee, the armor is not designed to take all the vehicle’s weight. The JLTV was designed from the ground up to protect the occupancy; and to do so in a manner that still provides a high degree of speed, a high degree of affordability and a high degree of air transportability. The air transportability is really the unique feature you don’t find in any category in this class A vehicle that you can carry underneath an helicopter such as the CH-47 or CH-53 or you can put inside a C-130 tactical aircraft.
It is an important feature that provides great flexibility especially for Special Forces.
- What can you tell us about the M-ATV family of vehicles you are promoting during the show?
Oshkosh Defense has been extremely successful having sold over 10,000 M-ATV vehicles to the US army and international allies throughout the world. What we’ve done is capitalize on that experience to now offer not just one vehicle but an entire family of vehicles in different variants both standard and extended wheel based so we can meet our customers’ requirements in a variety of mission profiles. And those are in production today and are being fielded to our international partners. We are very excited to offer the M-ATV which is a heavier class and provides a greater flexibility to our customers.
- How do you describe Oshkosh Defense presence in the MENA region?
Oshkosh was already the premier provider of tactical wheeled vehicles for the US forces, and increasingly we are the provider of choice for international forces. Within the Middle East and North Africa, our vehicles are currently installed and operational in 18 countries with over 7500 vehicles in service today. We are already present and we have been here for decades, so we’re excited for what the future brings while continuing to do business and partnering with our international allies.
- What makes you different from your competitors?
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Arab legion and next year (2017) will be marking the 100th anniversary of Oshkosh building trucks, which is considered as a very unique event. We started building trucks in 1917 at the beginning of the automotive industry, so we bring a hundred years of automotive expertise and engineering, which not many of our competitors can say, and so the unique engineering capability, the unique quality, and the history of performance excellence, help us design the highest quality tactical trucks on the market today.
In plus, we offer a full and total life cycle package for our vehicles, including spare parts, technical support, full training support and training aids. We even now offer a virtual training. So we don’t only provide the trucks it selves but also a virtual interface, which helps the soldiers train on it before they actually get on the truck itself.
Oshkosh has a package of aftermarket; we have a staff deployed in the Middle East and I live in Abu Dhabi where we have an office of services. We also have a large office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. We made those investments and we are making additional ones.
And in the countries where we actually don’t have physical assistance (employees) we’ve established local partnerships with country entities so we can make sure we meet our customers’ requirements whether for hardware, training or after market support.