US ARMY TACTICAL WHEELED VEHICLE MODERNIZATION
BATTLESPACE visits the Army’s Platform Systems Demonstration
By Scott R. Gourley
As noted in previous editions of Battlespace, the U.S. Army is actively engaged in a multi-phased tactical wheeled vehicle (TWV) modernization and recapitalization strategy designed to recapitalize, modernize and eventually replace its existing light, medium and heavy tactical wheeled vehicles with either a new next generation vehicle class or more capable recapitalized tactical wheeled vehicles that have integrated new technologies and incorporated lessons learned from operations involving the Global War on Terrorism.
One aspect of that strategy involves the ongoing Expedited Modernization Initiative Procedure (EMIP) process (See “Rodeo EMIP Report” in BATTLESPACE DVD June 2006 Issue).
Another aspect of U.S. Army TWV modernization involves the Future Tactical Truck System (FTTS) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD). FTTS prototypes are currently being manufactured and will be evaluated in a Military Utility Assessment (MUA) that will be held at Fort Lewis, Washington, from October 2006 through February 2007.
In parallel with these efforts, the Army has also called for a Platform Systems Demonstration (PSD). Unlike the EMIP, which looks at individual technologies, the PSD was convened to look at complete vehicle platforms, in an effort to educate Army systems requirements writers on the “state of the possible” in TWV capabilities.
BATTLESPACE recently visited the PSD at Aberdeen Proving Ground in an effort to learn more about the process and some of the vehicle platforms being demonstrated for the Army.
“What you see here is a collective effort,” explained Mr. John Wozniak, Assistant Project Manager for the FTTS ACTD. “There’s no one agency responsible but rather a collection of people who are involved with the process – both the materiel developer and combat developer – the folks who are responsible for requirements as well as the folks who are responsible for the materiel acquisition process as it relates to Tactical Wheeled Vehicles.”
“The PSD fits into the Army’s TWV modernization strategy,” added Colonel John (Steve) Myers, U.S. Army Project Manager for Future Tactical Systems (Provisional). “Essentially this is helping make the Army better for requirements developers and spec[ification] writers. The vehicles you see out there – we asked industry to participate. They came back and said, ‘We would like to participate.’ This is on ‘their nickel.’ They are coming in to show us what they can provide.”
Myers emphasized, “This is not a source selection. It is not a runoff. It’s simply market education. We’re looking at the vehicles and determining what capabilities are on these – commercially available vehicles for the most part – that the Army and now the Marines too might desire.”
“This is helping feed the requirements near term for the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV),” he continued. “That’s going to be a joint Marine and Army program to replace the Humvee. It may also feed other truck requirements in the future. What the Army has done, initially, to help us define what the requirements should be, is the Future Tactical Truck System ACTD, where we have paid [industry] to manufacture a few vehicles: two utility vehicles, two maneuver sustainment vehicles, and companion trailers. With those vehicles that we paid industry to develop we are going to learn what is in the ‘art of the possible.’ We gave them an accelerated timeframe to deliver those vehicles. They are full of technology. So the end result of those will be to tell us what industry can do.”
“And all these feeder events help the Army to determine what we want and what we can actually obtain – what can we ask industry to provide. For example, if I look at ‘Vehicle X’ out there, and it has a specific capability, I can say, ‘That [capability] is great. I want that in a future truck.’