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How The First Crowdsourced Military Vehicle Can Remake the Future of Defense Manufacturing

• Rebecca Boyle via

The military and defense contractors can learn a lot from the wisdom of the masses, and American fighting forces could be better equipped and better protected if higher-ups would embrace the DIY ethos of ingenuity and agility. At least that’s how Jay Rogers, founder of an automotive firm that just built a military concept vehicle from crowdsourced plans, sees things.

Rogers’ team of designers and engineers at Local Motors in Phoenix built the car, nicknamed FLYPmode, from scratch in less than four months, unveiling it for President Obama last week before delivering it to the military’s mad-science division in Virginia. If makers like Rogers get their way, the first Experimental Crowd-derived Combat Support Vehicle, or XC2V, just might be the future of the military industrial supply chain. But Rogers and his advocates face some hurdles first.

Click on the thumbnails to see some shots of the FLYPmode concept vehicle.

Last week, a Senate Appropriations Committee report took issue with several of DARPA’s blue-sky projects in the 2012 defense budget, including the XC2V. It’s part of DARPA’s FANG project, for Fast Adaptable Next-Generation Ground Combat Vehicle. While acknowledging it’s a good way to infuse the defense industry with new ideas, the committee is apparently concerned that the FANG project does “not adequately address” armor technologies and other safety issues, according to the report, obtained by the defense watchdog group Inside Defense and reported by Danger Room this week.


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