PROTECTED MOBILITY DISPLAY AND SUSTAINMENT CONFERENCE – BACK TO THE FUTURE
By Julian Nettlefold
22 Jun 11. There was a feeling of déjà vu ‘DVD returns’ last week on the opening day of the MoD’s first two day Protected Mobility Display and Sustainment Conference. Seasoned BATTLESPACE readers who have tracked DVD from its early days as the brainchild of the SUV IPT at Chertsey growing to Long Valley and then Millbrook culminating in the ‘all singing all dancing’ DVD Exhibition encompassing everything from vehicles thru food to clothing felt at home last week. But, like all big Exhibitions it seemed to lose its focus and two days was not long enough to tour the whole event and take in the new products. This witch’s warning was told to the Editor by a senior DE&S official when the management was handed over to the DE&S Central Exhibitions Unit in 2007. So, with the MoD cuts biting hard this year and with DSEi in the same year, DVD was dropped in favour of the Protected Mobility Display and Sustainment Conference (PMD&SC). To many this was a relief as it gave Visitors, Press, Exhibitors, the MoD and delegates time to hear the latest developments at the Conference and then brave the elements for discussions and driving of the vehicles on display.
BAE Systems used the event to highlight a £30m upgrade package to more than 70 British Army Warrior vehicles in Afghanistan. The upgrades, known as TES(H) [Theatre Entry Standard – Herrick], focus on further improvements to crew protection and the restoration of vehicle mobility that had been reduced due to previous weight increases. Examples of the upgrades include a modular armour system, enhanced seating, uprated suspension and motorsport-derived carbon fibre brakes.
Pete Howland of BAE Systems commented: “The package of upgrades to the Warrior is testament to the hard work and collaboration of a real roll call of British subcontractors, all working together to provide better protected vehicles for the frontline. We’ve carried out testing at Millbrook throughout the evolution of the Warrior, including gap crossing, tilt, step and hill climb performance. The team has always been very accommodating and it is great to be back at Millbrook to demonstrate the enhanced vehicle capabilities at the Protected Mobility Display.” (See: LATEST WARRIOR SHOWS ITS CAPABILITIES – IS THIS THE WAY AHEAD?
By Julian Nettlefold)
Also in attendance at the event was Navistar. Business development director Rob Puhalovich commented, “It is great that the Protected Mobility Display is dedicated solely to vehicles, as this allows us to meet with our customers and devote time to comprehensive vehicle demonstrations on Millbrook’s off-road course. We’ve been attending defence industry events at Millbrook for almost five years now and we’re always pleased with the opportunity we get to meet with our customers and partners in one venue.”
Having driven the MX-T round Millbrook (in two and four wheel drive!) last year, the Editor took the opportunity for a ride with Paul Kline of NAVISTAR Defense in the new Command Vehicle version of the Husky. This is an eight seater (2+6) with an armoured extended body and a larger capacity rear axle. The MoD is reported to be looking at a number of these but has, for the moment, shelved the Armoured Ambulance Requirement. However, Paul Kline told the Editor that the Command Variant could accommodate two litters for patients as well as 3 occupants. NAVISTAR showed other vehicles, including the standard Husky, a variant with a larger loadbed for carrying 2x Standard NATO pallets, an unarmoured MX-T with a Recovery System and an MX-T with leaf not air suspension. NAVISTAR is supplying a further 2x Husky vehicles with a self-recovery winch capability. There is little doubt that Husky is now establishing itself in the MoD inventory with over 350 supplied and with NAVISTAR Defense now building up a logistic support spares capability thru