BATTLESPACE MEETS STEWART & STEVENSON AT DVD
Stewart & Stevenson (S&S) announced at DVD that Stewart & Stevenson TVS UK Ltd. has teamed with LDV Limited, Lex Defence and Multidrive Limited to compete for the U.K. Ministry of Defence (MoD) Support Vehicle Programme.
It was an appropriate moment for BATTLESPACE to interview Stewart & Stevenson – as the company is celebrating its 100th year anniversary in 2002.
Better known in the USA for its engineering excellence, it is a little known entity in the UK. The company has been the exclusive supplier of the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV), including trucks and companion trailers for on and off-road use, to the U.S. Army since 1991. During this period the company has manufactured more than 16,500 vehicles, which have proven to be ultra-reliable with an operational readiness rating of 98 percent. It is also recognized as an industry leader in lean manufacturing and superior quality.
Founded by C. Jim Stewart, a blacksmith and Joe R. Stevenson, a carriage maker, in 1902, the Company opened for business on the same block that the Preston Street facility occupied until early 1998.
In 1976 Stewart & Stevenson offered shares to the public for the first time. (NASDAQ:SSSS). 1991 proved a turning point in the group’s fortunes and product lines when the company won a $1.2bn contract to build more than 10,000 U.S. Army 2.5- and 5-ton trucks. A plant near Sealy, TX. was purchased and modified into an assembly line-type facility to mass produce the trucks. In 1998 the 10,000th FMTV truck rolled off the assembly line at the Tactical Vehicle Systems state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Sealy, TX.
Stewart & Stevenson was then awarded a second $1.4bn contract by the U.S. Army to build approximately 7,800 FMTV A1s and 1,500 trailers through the year 2003 under a new $1.4bn multi-year agreement.
Built in Sealy, Texas by Stewart & Stevenson Tactical Vehicle Systems, LP, the FMTV (Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles) is the backbone for tactical manoeuvres and logistics from platoon through division level in all units and replaces the U. S. Army’s aging fleet of 2 1/2-ton and 5-ton trucks. The FMTVs come in 14 variants plus two trailers (2-1/2-ton and 5-ton) of 2.5-ton cargo and van models and 5-ton cargo, troop carrier, tractor, van, wrecker, tanker and dump-truck models.
BATTLESPACE drove the new model 5 tonne A1 truck during DVD and the results were spectacular. (N.B. The Editor was part of the Leyland DAF team launching the successful 4 tonne replacement vehicle to the UK MoD in the 1980s and had thus driven the Leyland vehicle on a number of occasions). The AI felt like the Leyland vehicle to drive with the same driving position and cab layout, which should prove a huge bonus to those squaddies training on any new vehicle.
But there the similarities stop and the evidence of advanced truck technology became evident.
The turbo-charged CAT heavy-duty 275HP 6-cylinder diesel engine gives excellent torque and cross-country performance in the role experienced during the Long Valley drive. Linked to an Allison MD 3070 PT, 7-speed automatic, electronically controlled gearbox the FMTV produces handling capabilities over rough terrain unmatched, in our view, by any other truck on the market today. The Central Tire Inflation System (CTIS) can be operated while driving and offers superb performance across sand conditions. Other benefits noted include power brakes, power steering, Anti-Lock Braking System, three-point safety belts and a reinforced steel cab large enough to easily accommodate three people, including their gear. The truck has an Interactive Electronic Technical Manual tells the mechanic about any vehicle problems, identifies solutions, calls out parts and tools needed, and provides detailed repair instructions
S&S told BATTLESPACE that the vehicles offered for the UK FCV contract will utilise the Multidrive a fabricated steel cab and the FMTV driv