Desert Patrol Vehicle
The Desert Patrol Vehicle (DPV), formerly called the Fast Attack Vehicle (FAV), is a high-speed, lightly-armored sandrail-like vehicle first used in combat during the Gulf War in 1991. Due to their dash speed and off-road mobility, the DPVs were used extensively during Operation Desert Storm. The first U.S. forces to enter Kuwait City were United States Navy SEALs in DPVs. The DPV is currently operated only by SEAL Team THREE, the unit assigned to the Middle East.
The original tests used commercial dune buggies modified to carry weapons such as TOW missiles and recoilless rifles. The recoilless rifles still had enough recoil to flip the lightweight dune buggies and were abandoned. The TOW missiles had much greater success, but they violated existing Army TOW doctrine. The Army had determined that a TOW needed a 3 man team to operate it. The DPVs could only carry a two man crew and they seemed perfectly capable of operating the TOW, but this would have meant revisiting Army doctrine and possibly changing TOW deployment throughout the Army. Fort Benning decided to offer a “superior” DPV design that allowed a third crewman. This design was rejected by the HTLD team and was never produced.
The DPV is a variant of the Fast Attack Vehicle, which was developed during the 1980s as part of the United States Army’s High Technology Light Division (9th Infantry Division). The HTLD was given carte blanche to develop doctrine, decide force structure, and design equipment by then Army Chief of Staff Edward C. Meyer. One of the pieces of equipment created was the Fast Attack Vehicle. Chenowth delivered 120 FAVs to the Army in 1982. HTTB (High Technology Test Bed) in the units in the 9th Infantry were first to deploy these vehicles. Along with light off-road motorcycles, the FAV was intended to provide a highly mobile component to the mostly foot infantry unit.
Eventually, the FAVs were replaced by High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWVs) in general military use, which did not provide nearly the speed nor extreme off-road capabilities of the FAVs. FAVs were transferred to special forces use where it has been largely replaced by the Light Strike Vehicle.
The basic weapons on a DPV consist of a heavy .50 caliber M2 Browning machine gun, two lighter 7.62×51 mm M60 machine guns, and two M136 AT4 anti-armor weapons. In some cases, the driver’s M60 or the gunner’s M2 is replaced with a 40 mm Mk 19 grenade launcher. Other light machine guns such as the M240 machine gun or 5.56×45 mm M249 SAW can also be mounted.