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U.S. Military Taking the Desert By Storm with Chenowth DPVs

As post-Vietnam era America headed into the 1980s, the need for vehicles that worked well in a variety of terrains and environmental conditions, had advanced tactical capabilities and could hit higher speeds prompted the development of Chenowth’s Fast Attack Vehicle (FAV). The FAV, also known as a Desert Patrol Vehicle (DPV) in the nineties after some modifications, was developed as part of the U.S. Army’s High Technology Light Division (9th Infantry Division). This division was given absolute power of design, development, and armament of a light strike vehicle for use in the looming Gulf War.

The Desert Patrol Vehicle, built by Chenowth Racing Products, Inc. in 1982, delivered 120 FAVs to the U.S. Army, where it underwent necessary testing. The FAV/DPV was essentially a lightly armored, high-speed sandrail, or dune buggy, with a payload capacity of over 1,500 lbs. The upgraded four-wheel-drive DPV consisted of an air-cooled, rear-mounted 200 horsepower engine that allowed it to go from 0 to 40 mph in about four seconds and hit a high speed of 80 mph. A 21-gallon fuel tank came standard with each DPV for a maximum range of 210 miles, and an optional fuel bladder extended the range to over 1,000 miles.

The Deployment of the DPV

Because of their outstanding acceleration and off-road mobility, the DPVs were used to great advantage during Operation Desert Storm (January 1991 - February 1991). Most notably, The first U.S forces to arrive in Kuwait City at this time were Navy SEALs in Desert Patrol Vehicles. The armament of these combat buggies was accordingly light, as armored plates would add far too much weight and compromise mobility and speed. However, a heavy .50-caliber M2 Browning was usually mounted on DPVs along with two smaller M60s, two M136 AT4s (anti-armor guns). The M2 or the M60s could be replaced with 40 mm Mk 19 grenade launchers.

As with the M151 jeeps, M561 “Gama Goats,” and the CUCVs, the DPVs were primarily supplanted by HMMWVs (popularly known as Humvees or Hummers) for general military use. However, jeeps remain some of the most efficient and practical vehicles designed and used by the U.S. military to-date. And the DPVs were far superior to the larger and slower HMMWVs in terms of speed and extreme off-road capabilities. The DPV still saw action after a transfer to special forces where it received additional improvements and became the Light Strike Vehicle (LSV). To this day, the U.S. military uses LSVs for quick raids, special forces support, guerrilla warfare, and scouting missions as part of the ongoing military campaign, the War on Terrorism.

Although this dune buggy has been dubbed many a new name and three-letter acronym, the consistencies in the vehicles’ design over the last nearly four decades are apparent even in the latest generations of LSVs. We at AJP are fascinated by the evolution of U.S. military 1/4 -ton truck and believe the FAV/DPV/LSV to be one of the most remarkable military vehicle designs.

For more information on DPVs or to take advantage of our store of Willys MB parts for sale, contact Army Jeep Parts today! If you are looking for something other than MB GPW parts, we can still also accommodate your jeep needs.