DRS – ESTABLISHING BATTLEFIELD INFRASTRUCTURE
By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE
This is the first in our series ‘FOLLOW THE SAPPER’ – DEVELOPING BATTLEFIELD INFRASTRUCTURE, By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE
One company building up a capability in the provision of battlefield infrastructure is DRS Technologies. The company has two segments providing services and equipment for the battlefield, Sustainment Systems and Technical Services. The Technical Services segment provides manpower and services for the battlefield whilst the Sustainment Systems segment provides vital hardware from generators and air conditioning systems thru CBRN systems to heavy duty trailers.
BATTLESPACE spoke to John Fitzpatrick Director, Business Development
Combat Support Systems, DRS Sustainment Systems, Inc. about the company’s activities.
“The acquisition of ESSI by DRS gave the company a totally new area to develop; ESSI was a leader in the provision of battlefield systems to the U.S. Army. In terms of power provision DRS is now established the market leader in the U.S. in the supply of field generating equipment from 3Kw tactical generators to deployable power for tented cities. Following close behind this is our ability to provide environmental systems from air conditioning, heaters and CBRN equipment on the battlefield. Our Armoring segment is working at full stretch providing appliqué kits for a number of vehicles as a sub-contractor to Oshkosh. Another strategic business unit within the Systems Segment, Defense Electronics provides vital equipment such as the M-STAR battlefield radar whilst Defense Systems provides trailers and associated equipment. The company is also prime for the Armored Knight system (See: DRS UPDATES BATTLESPACE ON KNIGHT PROGRAM By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE). We aim to develop an ability to provide a fully serviced tented city on the battlefield from cradle to grave,” John Fitzpatrick said.
The company is currently resetting up to 1000 M1000 HET Tank Transporter trailers all of which have racked up a year’s usage in one month of operations in Iraq. The company is also involved in the development of a new tank transporter trailer for the Israeli Army.
“Could you give us details of your contract to supply the Modular Fuel System to the U.S. Army?” the Editor asked.
“Fuel is a primary tactical asset for land and air assets. The movement of fuel is crucial to the success of any operation. At present fuel is moved around the battlefield using the legacy Inland Petroleum Distribution System which is in effect a pipeline system supplying fuel to Divisional level; this is costly and timely to construct. This arrives at the Fuel System Supply Point (FSSP). FSSP relies on the usage of the storage of 800,000 gallons of fuel at Divisional Level and to move this by truck convoy to the front involving 5000 gallon tankers and HEMTT Tankers. Not only are trucks expensive to operate they are vulnerable to attacks whilst in convoy and cannot keep up with fast moving troop deployments. This led to the development of the MFS system which DRS won in competition against Parker Hannifin in 2005 for $6m for phase 1,” Fitzpatrick said.
MFS is designed to be deployed at Brigade level on the ground and by air. The system consists of 14×2500 gallon tankers mounted on a flat rack with two 600 gallon/minute pumps also on flat racks giving an availability of 35000 gallons. The system is dismountable from the HEMTT, thus it is not a dedicated asset. The system has to be able to refuel eight vehicles or aircraft at a time in at 50gpm.
“One of the most difficult tasks was to design tanker modules which could be air dropped; in the past fuel could only be air dropped using 500 gallon bladders. The government performed a static air drop test and we will be running a full (LVAD) low velocity air drop exercise in the next few months,” Fitzpatrick continued
“DRS expects to realize the full potential