RIDE ‘EM’ – RODEO REVOLUTIONIZES U.S. ARMY WHEELED VEHICLE PLANS
By Scott R. Gourley
“Basically what I call this is ‘AUSA on an actual track where you can see it.’”
– Colonel Robert Groller, Project Manager, Tactical Vehicles
A new event to the annual rodeo circuit.
Where January in Yuma, Arizona was once known primarily for the local lettuce festival, this year marked the inauguration of a new annual event that promises to revolutionize the way that the U.S. Army’s tactical wheeled vehicle fleet is procured, maintained, and upgraded.
Known as the “Truck Technology Rodeo,” the new event will provide an annual milestone of available truck technologies that will feed directly into annual budgets. Along the way, traditional “A0,” “A1,” A2,” system designators may lose much of their meaning, to be replaced instead by the specific “model year” designations so familiar to civilian car buyers.
As part of the Expedited Modernization Initiative Procedure (EMIP) Process, the Truck Technology Rodeo emerged into the public eye in July 2004 through a US Army market research announcement in Federal Business Opportunities.
The announcement proclaimed that, “The Project Manager Tactical Vehicles (PM-TV), in conjunction with the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Systems Manager for Tactical Wheeled Vehicle (TWV) Modernization and the Directorate of Combat Development for Transportation (DCD-TC), is committed to the goals and performance of a Joint Expeditionary Force, focusing on increasing the relevance and readiness of our TWV fleet, and ensuring that the best possible product is available to support the current force and beyond. The EMIP is a multi-phased, continuous process designed to improve the current and future TWV fleet by identifying and leveraging industry’s investments in advanced technologies, and to allow for insertion of these technologies as quickly as possible.”
“The flexibility and agility to both take advantage of capabilities offered by rapidly changing technologies as well as to meet the challenges imposed by GWOT and the requirement to transform to a modular, expeditionary Army,” it continued. “The current TWV fleet is composed of the M915 Series of Trucks, Palletized Load System (PLS), Heavy Equipment Transporter (HET), Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT), Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV), and High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) families of vehicles, as well as all associated trailers. This process applies to those vehicles that PM TV manages.”
As part of that process, the announcement explained that, “PM TV is seeking technology that will improve the capabilities of the current fleet with regard to agility/versatility, deployability, responsiveness, sustainability, and survivability to support continuous future force operations with the right products at the right time for the right price.”
Contractors were invited to make initial white paper submission of their proposed technologies no later than 1 September 2004. Those papers were analyzed through a subsequent selection process leading to a formal “Technology Rodeo” demonstration in January 2005.
The inaugural rodeo was held at Yuma Proving Ground during the period 18 – 21 January 2005.
Speaking before an industry conference in early February 2005, the Army’s PM TV, Colonel Robert L. Groller, observed “For all the contractors, the government personnel, and for Yuma, I think it was a major success. We saw a lot. Basically what I call this is ‘AUSA on an actual track’ where you can see it. It’s nice to see a display but now I can see what you all are ‘hawking’ me every day of my life, as far as what you have and what it can do. Guess what? Now I don’t want you to tell me what it can do. I want to SEE what it can do; if you say it is ‘that much better,’ then get it out there. Let us look at it, we’ll ride the old one, we’ll ride the new one. Then we’ll make the determination of whethe