The smooth-riding Caiman MRAP vehicles are based on technologies developed by subsidiaries of BAE Systems, with an intricate corporate history. The Caiman 6x6 was originally developed by Stewart & Stevenson Tactical Vehicle Systems (TVS), from its military FMTV trucks. The Tactical Vehicle Systems division of Stewart & Stevenson was acquired by Armor Holdings, Inc. in 2006. Armor Holdings was then acquired by BAE Systems in July 2007, who renamed the group BAE Systems Global Tactical Systems (GTS).
Front view, BAE Systems Caiman 6x6 MRAP. Image: BAE Systems.
The Caiman MRAP incorporates features and automotive components from the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) and the Low Signature Armored Cab (LSAC) crew protection kit for the FMTV. The original Caiman design was a 6x6 vehicle for MRAP Category II requirements. The 6x6 was joined in October 2008 by the 4x4 Caiman Light variant. The MRAP II program required protection against Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFP), a requirement met by the Caiman Plus, an improved version of the Caiman Light wrapped with applique armor boxes on its sides.
Three versions of the Caiman were procured by the U.S. military:
MRAP Category I
XM1220 Caiman 4x4 (Caiman Light)
XM1230 Caiman Plus 4x4 (Mama Bear)
MRAP Category II
The Caiman Light (4x4 variant of the 6x6 Caiman MRAP) is only two-thirds the weight of the larger Caiman, but offers equivalent protection. With optional all-wheel steering, the Caiman Light achieves outstanding maneuverability with its turning radius of less than 20 feet There is 85 percent parts commonality between the 4x4 and 6x6 Caiman vehicles as well as with the tens of thousands of fielded FMTVs.
Production of the Caiman MRAP vehicles was completed on 20 November 2008 with a total of 2,868 Caiman vehicles delivered to the US military since January 2007. In 2010 about 1,800 Caiman MRAP vehicles were upgraded under a contract with BAE Systems.
Soldiers with A Co, 2nd Bn, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division travel in Caiman MRAP vehicles through western Salah ad Din, Iraq, 7 Jan 2010.
SGT Chad Charles, assigned to Bravo Battery, 3rd Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, dismounts from a Caiman 6x6 MRAP vehicle to search for weapons in a village in southern Kirkuk, Iraq, 17 June 2008.