In recent years, military vehicles have become increasingly heavy. The current incarnation of the Humvee, the M1151, weighs more than twice the original model, the M998. All that additional armor and equipment is great, but it means the vehicle can no longer accomplish all the missions for which it was originally designed. Moreover, the extra weight is putting extra strain on the helicopters that have to ferry these things around.
That's where the Light Strike Vehicle comes in. "Still in the prototype stage, the 3,000-pound vehicle will have a 500-horsepower engine, 41-inch tires and a 2,500-pound payload." And under the right conditions, it can do 100mph.
“A vehicle with outstanding offroad capability and high axle articulation requires a compliant and loose suspension with maximum travel,” said Marty Strong, Blackwater USA vice president of communications. “These are the opposite characteristics required of a highspeed platform. Our suspension design spans both worlds by offering high articulation and extreme offroad performance, while still maintaining great manners when traveling at speeds approaching 100 mph.
Pictures of Blackwater's Light Strike Vehicle prototype are not yet avaliable, so what you see above is a similar vehicle from Chenoweth, deployed during the first Gulf War.
This is not, of course, Blackwater's first vehicle project; the Grizzly is an armored personnel carrier (APC) on the heavier side of the spectrum, a vehicle which received critical acclaim from those that would have to use it. One military blogger praised it for its "attention to detail" and its design to "deflect the effect of roadside bombs and mines."