PORT CHARLESTON, S.C. (Nov. 14, 2011) -- The U.S. Army took another significant step forward in the strategic withdrawal of combat forces from Afghanistan last week with the shipment of the first 18 production Mobile Strike Force Vehicles to theater.

These 18 vehicles are the first of 281 Mobile Strike Force Vehicles, or MSFVs, that will be provided to the Afghan National Army, or ANA, to enable a Quick Reaction Force, or QRF, capability. This capability will be critical once U.S. forces begin their drawdown.

"The MSFV provides each QRF Kandak [Battalion], with a rapidly deployable, highly mobile armored capability that can quickly maneuver in an all terrain environment, while concurrently providing the ANA with sufficient firepower to conduct a wide variety of operational missions over an extended range and distance," said Capt. Joseph Denning, within the Product Manager for Armored Security Vehicle, or PdM ASV, office.

The MSFV is a modified and updated version of a Textron Marine and Land Systems vehicle platform design that has over four decades of proven performance. The modifications on the MSFV allow for additional protection while still utilizing commercial-off-the-shelf parts.

The MSFV family consists of three variants, each designed to meet a specific combat role and to meet and enhance the ANA QRF capability. The three variants include an Armored Personnel Carrier with Gunner's Protective Kit, an Armored Personnel Carrier with Turret, and an Armored Ambulance.

"MSFV is the definition of a rapid fielding initiative," said Col. William Boruff, Project Manager for Joint Combat Support Systems, or PM JCSS. "We have gone from receiving a theater defined requirement to awarding a contract and completing the Army Acquisition process, resulting in delivery of the first Low Rate Initial Production, or LRIP, vehicles off the production line in just 14 months."

Currently PdM ASV is working in conjunction with the Combined Security Training Command -- Afghanistan to provide a complete fielding, training, and long term sustainment program to stand up seven newly organized ANA battalion sized units known as "Kandaks" by the end of 2013.

"This rapid fielding initiative will provide the ANA with a newly developed QRF capability that supports the U.S. strategic withdrawal by turning over the security of each Kandak's operational area to a trained and equipped ANA unit," added Boruff.

The MSFV program is managed by the Army's PdM ASV which falls under the leadership of PM JCSS within the Program Executive Office for Combat Support and Combat Service Support.