LAND WARRIOR’S FORT LEWS TEST GATHERS PACE
BY Adam Baddeley, Deputy Editor, BATTLESPACE
The team from Program Executive Office (PEO) Soldier report solid progress and success in the Land Warrior DOTMLPF (Doctrine, Organization, Training, Material, Leadership, Education, Personnel, and Facilities) assessment at Fort Lewis Washington. The results have come from the first battalion-scale testing of 440 Land Warrior and 147 Stryker-borne Mounted Warrior ensembles that are equipping the 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, known as the Manchus’s – the Army’s fourth Stryker Brigade Combat Team. By the time of the AUSA Annual Meeting in October, Land Warrior will have moved onto its Limited User Test (LUT) and will be another step closer to wider fielding.
Project Manager-Soldier Warrior Colonel Richard Hansen, addressing the DOTMLPF put it succinctly. “The bottom line is that Land Warrior is doing quite well at Fort Lewis.” Colonel Ernie Forrest, TRADOC System Manager-Soldier, discussing progress shortly before he transferred agreed with this qualified view. He added, “So far the unit is giving us a ‘C’ grade on the system and that is pretty much what we expected.”
Lieutenant Colonel Brian Cummings, US Army Product Manager for Land Warrior, outlined the progress so far in more detail. “We have outfitted an entire battalion with Land Warriors plus Mounted Warrior systems for crewmen in the Stryker vehicle. New equipment training for the entire battalion with both systems has been completed. The actual installation of Stryker Integration Kits, the equipment that provides the gateway and provides the situational awareness between Land Warrior and Mounted Warrior was completed early on. There are also battery chargers in each vehicle so that we have rechargeable batteries that operate the new systems. The unit has gone to tactical integration training where they use Land Warrior in various environments, particularly urban operations, stress shoots and live fires and a whole variety of other tasks.”
The unit is has gone through collective live fire tasks at squad level, proceeding to platoon live fire and company live fires and culminating in a Task Force exercise.
LTC Cummings continued, “In May we started looking at aspects of Land Warrior and Mounted Warrior and how they would impact on the soldier in different environments. That will continue throughout the summer, gathering in a lot of lessons learned. We are looking at achieving a whole list of objectives – about 15. Looking at all the operational capability gaps that the unit has and developing new Tactical Techniques and Procedures (TTP).” This work will culminate in a Limited User Test (LUT) in September of this year when the Army Test and Evaluation Command will assess the system’s worth.
PEO Soldier’s initial plan is to leave the equipment with the Manchus and then go to a Milestone C decision on Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP), a full operational test and evaluation, and potentially moving quickly into full rate production. This MS C decision will be made in the second quarter of FY07, most likely around March 2007.
With some 587 systems from the two programmes deployed with the Manchus, not every soldier in the battalion will be have the equipment – it will be a selective deployment. LTC Cummings explained, “What we have done is to give Land Warrior to every dismounted soldier and in some cases combat medics and combat engineers – people in the close fight who are going to be up against our adversaries and take fire. The crewmen within the Strykers all have the Mounted Warrior. Not everyone will have [the] equipment – our primary focus is on the soldiers that are in the seven Stryker variants and whether they need Land Warrior or Mounted Warrior. Everyone else in the unit, in support platoons for example, is not outfitted with either system.”
In the case of both Land and Mounted Warrior the DOTMLPF is exploring different modular combinations