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By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE

03 Sep 07. DRS Technologies is using the 2007 DSEI Exhibition as an opportunity to propose and offer its Modular Fuel System (MFS) an the answer to the Ministry of Defense’s Joint Operational Fuel System initiative. The company’s MFS, and a variant of it, the Flatrack Refueling Capability (FRC) System, are currently under contract with the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps (USMC).

The MFS is designed to be deployed at the brigade level force via the ground or air. The system consists of 14 x 2,500 gallon tankers mounted on a flat rack with two 600 gallon/minute pumps also on flatracks providing a maximum capability of 35,000 gallons. The system is dismountable from the (HEMTT), thus it is not a dedicated asset. The system is capable of simultaneously refueling eight vehicles or aircraft at a rate at 50 gallons per minute.

“One of the most difficult tasks in designing the MFS 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 low velocity air drop (LVAD) exercise in the next few months,” John Fitzpatrick, Director, Business Development Combat Support Systems, DRS Sustainment Systems, Inc. said.

“DRS expects to realize the full potential of the 5 year Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) once the testing is complete. The Marine Corps has also expressed an interest in the system and we recently won a $2.7 million contract to modify the MFS in which we combine the pump and tank on one flatrack,” Fitzpatrick continued.

“Fuel is a primary tactical asset for land and air deployments. 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. This is essentially a pipeline system supplying fuel to Division-sized units. This is costly and timely to construct. This arrives at the Fuel System Supply Point (FSSP) and the FSSP relies on the usage of the storage of 800,000 gallons of fuel and transports it by truck convoys to the front lines using 5,000 gallon tankers and HEMTT Tankers. Not only are trucks expensive to operate they also are vulnerable to attacks during a convoy and can not keep up with fast moving troop deployments. This led to the development of the MFS system which DRS competitively won against Parker Hannifin in 2005 for a phase 1 $6m contract,” Fitzpatrick said.

DRS announced on May 25 that the company had received a $3m contract from the U.S. Army’s Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) in Warren, Michigan to build a prototype Flatrack Refueling Capability (FRC) system for the USMC. TACOM is placing the order on behalf of the USMC through the Army’s Program Executive Office for Combat Support & Combat Service Support and its subordinate office of Product Manager for Petroleum and Water Systems.

The order for the FRC modifies a contract DRS currently has to design, develop and support the Army’s Modular Fuel System (MFS) program. The FRC is a variant of the U.S. Army’s developmental MFS. The work for this contract will start immediately and the delivery of the prototype is expected to occur this December. The delivery will be followed by three months of testing at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. The FRC program will be managed by the company’s DRS Sustainment Systems unit in St. Louis, Missouri.

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