Force Protection Inc

Force Protection Inc

company_name = Force Protection, Inc.
company_type = Public (NASDAQ: [ FRPT] )
foundation = Ladson, SC (1996)
location = Ladson, SC
key_people = Gordon McGilton, CEO
num_employees = over 1000 [ The truck the Pentagon wants and the firm that makes it - ] ] | products = mine- and blast- protected vehicles
homepage = []
Force Protection, Inc. (nasdaq|FRPT) is a manufacturer of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAP), which have been used in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and other hot spots around the world.


The company traces its roots to Sonic Jet Performance, Inc., a California speed boat company founded in 1997. When the boat business hit tough times after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, company officials began looking for a new product. Around that time, they heard about Garth Barrett, a former Rhodesian military officer who had a company, Technical Solutions, that was building a new type of mine-resistant vehicle.

The heavily armored trucks featured a V-hull design that deflected underbody blasts away from the passenger compartment, and Barrett had seen them save lives in Africa's bush wars. They licensed the rights from the South African manufacturer to produce two U.S. models: the Buffalo, a huge, mine-clearing truck, and the Cougar, which was smaller and more versatile. Technical Solutions was struggling, so they took it over. The takeover came in June 2002 and, not long after, they decided to focus exclusively on the V-hulled trucks. They also took a new name, drawn from the address for Technical Solutions' website:

Since Force Protection got its first small MRAP contracts in 2004 and 2005, it sometimes has struggled to deliver vehicles on schedule. At first the company had only a dozen people on its early production line. It once took five weeks to build one Cougar. The Defense Department fined Force Protection more than $1.5 million for delivery delays in 2005.

Partnering agreements with other defense industry manufacturers such as Armor Holdings and BAE Systems, as well as a joint venture company with General Dynamics ("Force Dynamics"), were made to merge Force Protection's proprietary designs with the manufacturing capacity thought necessary to meet increasing demand. Force Protection received several contracts as part of the MRAP program, supplying blast resistant vehicles to American forces in Iraq, but as 2007 progressed orders were increasingly placed with rivals companies. [ [ More MRAPs: Navistar’s MaxxPro Maintains the Pole Position - Defense Industry Daily ] ]

In 2005 Force Protection's President and Chief Technology Officer, Garth Barrett, left the company to form Protected Vehicles, Inc. who manufactured the Golan Armored Vehicle in cooperation with the RAFAEL Armament Development Authority. Protected Vehicles, Inc has since faced lawsuits over claims that Barrett stole a hard drive containing confidential data. [ [ Defense Tech: A Primer in MRAP Variants ] ]

Product Line

*Cheetah - The Cheetah is designed for urban operations, reconnaissance, and forward command and control.
*Cougar - The Cougar is a medium sized mine-protected vehicle for command and control, artillery prime mover, recovery and ambulance duty.
**Cougar 4X4 can carry 4 troops and a EOD robot.
**Cougar 6X6 can carry up to 12 troops.
*Buffalo designed principally for route clearing activities, asset protection, urban weapons systems, and command and control.

See also

*Bushmaster IMV


External links

* [ Force Protection Inc. website]
* [ Yahoo! - Force Protection Inc. Company Profile]
* [ Extensive article from the USA Today about Force Protection Inc.]

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