Growler (vehicle)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the horse-drawn vehicle known as a growler, see Hackney carriage
M1161 Growler internally transportable vehicle
USMC Growler.jpg
Type Fast attack / light utility vehicle
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 2009 – present
Used by United States Marine Corps
Production history
Designer American Growler
Designed 1999
Manufacturer American Growler, General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems
Unit cost $209,000 USD scout, $1,078,000 USD mortar
Produced 2009 – present
Variants M1163 prime mover expeditionary fire support system (EFSS)
Weight Curb 2,058 kg (4,537 lb) or 3,872 kg (8,536 lb) with maximum payload
Length 4.14 m (163 in)
Width 1.5 m (59 in)
Height 1.19 m (47 in) stowed, 1.84 m (72 in) standard road height and 1.92 m (76 in) at maximum clearance
Crew 1 driver, 3 passengers

Armor Kevlar frag-resistant seats
M2HB .50cal BMG machine gun
M240G 7.62mm MG or Mk19 40mm automatic grenade launcher
Engine 2.8 Liter In-line 4-cylinder SOHC 12-valve turbo-diesel (Navistar Defense)
132 bhp @ 3,600 rpm / 230 ft lbs torque @ 2,000 rpm
Payload capacity 900 kg (2,000 lb) Cross-country
Transmission General Motors 4L70E 4-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, Chrysler 2-speed manual transfer case (2WD Hi/Lo and 4WD Hi/Lo)
Suspension Air ride gas bladder suspension, height-adjustable on the fly via dash control panel
Fuel capacity 91 litres (24 US gal) via twin 45 litres (12 US gal) fuel tanks using JP-8, commercial diesel, DF-2 or JP-5
657 km (408 mi) unrefueled
Speed 137 km/h (85 mph) maximum on paved roads, 105 km/h (65 mph) cross-country
Four wheel steering via joystick control with auto-centering

The M1161 Growler is an internally transportable-light strike vehicle (ITV-LSV) designed specifically for use with the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft. Fulfilling multiple roles of light utility, light strike and fast attack vehicle, it is smaller than most international vehicles in the same role. The Growler has taken over duties of the M151 jeep variants and completely replaced the Interim Fast Attack Vehicle (IFAV). The United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) has expressed interest in a modified version.[1] A separate marine corps variant, the M1163 prime mover is a combination of a towed 120mm mortar and ammunition trailer.


Development for the Growler began in 1999 by American Growler when the marine corps sought a vehicle that could be transported in a V-22 Osprey. Though the initial design used elements and parts from the drive train of the M151 MUTT which it was intended to replace, the final design featured entirely new parts and systems to allow it to fulfill its mission. This included allowing it to fit within the confines of a V-22's cargo bay. No major components from the M151 design are used in the manufacture of the M1161 or M1163 variant. Initial engineering of the M1161 is most closely related to American Growler's commercial UV 100 DB off-road vehicle. Manufacture of the Growler variants was later transferred to General Dynamics facilities but are otherwise identical.[2][3][4]

Growler M1161 Scout/Reconnaissance and M1163 prime mover towed-artillery variants
M327 towed heavy mortar and Growler prime mover being loaded onto an MV-22 Osprey.


Two different versions of the Growler were developed; the M1161 scout/reconnaissance version, and the M1163 expeditionary fire support system (EFSS) towed heavy 120mm mortar prime mover variant. A separate ammunition trailer, the M1162 was dropped from design and its duties incorporated into the M1163. The M1161 scout variant is armed with either an M2HB .50cal BMG machine gun, M240G 7.62mm MG or Mk19 40mm automatic grenade launcher. The 120mm mortar used by the M1163 is the French RT-120, deployed by United States forces as the M327 Dragon Fire. The Growler's central role of cross-country scout and aerially-deployed forward unit has led to further modifications, including use of the rifled precision extended range munition (PERM) system.[5]

On November 10, 2004, the Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) awarded indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract M67854-05-D-6014 with firm-fixed-price and cost-plus-award-fee contract line-item numbers for a base year and up to six option years to General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems (GDOTS) for $12,057,159 for procurement of 66 EFSSs and up to 650 ITVs. The MCSC selected GDOTS over two other offerors. On September 20, 2007, Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services filed a protest on behalf of a constituent, Rae-Beck Automotive, LLC, a subcontractor to one of the losing offerors. The DOD inspector general's audit did not substantiate most of the constituent’s concerns, but did note concerns with the MCSC program management and contract award for the EFSS and ITV programs.[6]

By 2008, unit cost had risen by 120%, leaving each Growler scout variant with a cost of $209,000 per unit. The prime mover mortar contract price rose by 86%, to $1,078,000 cost per unit.[7][6] The first Growlers were deployed to marine units in January 2009 for field testing, one year beyond the contracted delivery date. By August 2011, 209 M1161s and 102 M1163s had been produced, with 42 additional M1163s on order. The vehicles saw combat with elements of MarSoc in Afghanistan from 2011-2014.[8] Problems with M1161 and M1163's throttle system were identified in May 2012 following an accident at MCB Camp Pendleton, California. The entire vehicle fleet was grounded, pending repair.[7]

During RIMPAC 2014, the marines fitted a Growler ITV with Torc Robotics' Ground Unmanned Support Surrogate (GUSS) system, turning it into an unmanned ground vehicle. The GUSS system's aim is to lighten troops' loads by carrying up to 1,600 lb (730 kg) of equipment; it can also serve as an unmanned medical evacuation vehicle. A GUSS-equipped ITV can autonomously follow a person wearing a beacon at a predetermined distance while cruising at up to 8 mph (13 km/h). A marine can take direct control of the vehicle through a robotic controller or switch it to manual operation and drive it themselves if needed. The unmanned ITV may be fielded within five years.[9]


The marines are seeking a replacement for the Growler ITV, running parallel with SOCOM's efforts to develop an Osprey-transportable vehicle. The effort comes from higher demand in operations and the service's Expeditionary Force 21 concept, which emphasizes lighter forces; quick-reaction marine expeditionary units typically deploy with as many as 20 ITVs. A limited objective experiment and technical assessment is to be conducted in fall 2015 to define the need and find vehicles to fill it, performing missions ranging from light strike to logistics and casualty evacuation.[10] Manufactured between 2004 and 2010, Growler ITV procurement and fielding was ineffectively timed since operations in Iraq and Afghanistan led to most units relying on armored vehicles because of the threat of roadside bombs. Originally intended for infantry, Growlers were fielded primarily with reconnaissance, marine special forces, and artillery communities. A new ITV would be fielded with infantry forces to serve company-sized landing teams. Although designed for light strike, experiments have shown an ITV's greatest roles to be casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) and logistics to lighten individuals' loads. Replacement efforts could begin in 2018.[11]

See also[edit]


"M1161 Growler Internally Transportable Vehicle". Archived from the original on May 16, 2012.  "Light Strike Vehicle (LSV)".  "LSV Light Strike Vehicle" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 1, 2012.  "INTERNALLY TRANSPORTABLE VEHICLE, LIGHT STRIKE VARIANT (ITV-LSV), M1161" (PDF).  "Growler crash leads to fleet suspension".  "EFSS/ITV: The US Marines’ Mobile 120mm Mortar System".