In preparation for Network Integration Evaluation (NIE) 12.2, the third in a series of semiannual evaluations designed to holistically integrate and rapidly advance the Army’s tactical network, the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TARDEC) is spearheading key ground vehicle integration efforts from its headquarters in Warren, MI.
This marks the first time the Detroit Arsenal has conducted vehicle integration in support of the NIE. During the first two exercises, NIE 11.2 and 12.1 in the spring and fall of 2011, respectively, the systems that underwent testing and evaluation were integrated into the Army’s combat vehicle fleet at Fort Bliss, TX, and White Sands Missile Range, NM, where the 3,800 Soldiers of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division (2/1 AD) carry out the evaluations. The work was moved to the Detroit Arsenal to ensure that all vehicle integration, verification, and design work was completed upfront before the equipment arrived at Fort Bliss for integration with the gaining unit.
“TARDEC’s previous work on network integration projects positioned us well in receiving this work,” said Kirndeep Bhamra, Deputy Associate Director, Project Management at TARDEC’s Center for Ground Vehicle Development and Integration (CGVDI). “We’ve led many projects, including Digital Backbone and command and control on-the-move integration. This prior relationship with PEO C3T [Program Executive Office Command, Control, and Communications – Tactical], coupled with our core mission of managing systems development and integration projects, made us the best choice to lead this effort.”
A key part of the effort is integrating equipment for Warfighter Information Network – Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2, the Army’s on-the-move, satellite-based communications network, into various Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicles (M-ATVs).
“There were various components that needed to be integrated into the M-ATVs, taking into consideration space, weight, power, thermal impacts, safety, mobility, and various other analyses,” Bharma explained. “CGVDI is the overall project lead for this work. We designed the brackets to hold the equipment and integrated three prototype vehicles (mechanical and electrical).”
Additionally, CGVDI helped procure production kits in support of NIE, leveraging various TARDEC resource groups for electrical design, software, and supporting analyses.
WIN-T Increment 2 is designed to extend satellite communications down to the company level, allowing Soldiers to communicate through voice, data, images, and video, even in complex terrain that can break line-of-sight radio connections. In conjunction with NIE 12.2, WIN-T Increment 2 will undergo its initial operational test and evaluation in May and June.
- KATIE E. CAIN is a Media Relations Specialist for the Tolliver Group Inc., supporting the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology System of Systems Integration Directorate. Cain holds a B.A. in applied arts in integrative public relations, with a concentration in political science, from Central Michigan University.
Program Executive Office Soldier’s Project Manager Soldier Weapons (PM SW) has fielded the new M26 Modular Accessory Shotgun Systems (MASS) to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team “Strike”, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, KY. Tests have determined the M26 to be the most reliable, durable, rugged shotgun in the Army inventory. The receiving unit initiated a week of fielding, training, and range activities in early February, with a small ceremony to mark the milestone achievement.
The newest small arm in the Army’s inventory has a notable history of deployment, test, and evaluation. About 200 shotguns of an early predecessor of the M26, the Lightweight Shotgun System (LSS), were fielded to the 10th Mountain Division in 2003. This fielding answered an Operational Needs Statement that specified the need for a modular shotgun compatible with the M4 Carbine. The modularity concept specified that the shotgun could be configured as either a compact stand-alone shotgun or an under-barrel modular accessory to the M4, and that it be transformed into either mode quickly by Soldiers in the field without special tools or equipment.
Units that received the LSS returned them upon redeploying from Afghanistan in 2005, about the same time as the XM26 MASS program got underway. The Army formalized the need for a MASS with an Operational Requirements Document, and a subsequent competition identified C-MORE Competition’s MASS as the shotgun best able to meet the Army’s needs. The XM26 was considered to be a non-developmental item because of its design maturity and demonstrated performance.
Subsequent testing during the engineering and manufacturing development phase identified areas for improvement. Program managers put the XM26 through three stages of improvement and user testing, demonstrating steadily increasing performance and higher levels of user satisfaction. The weapon that emerged from the test and evaluation process is unique in the Army inventory.
New Lightweight Capability
The M26 MASS is a major departure from currently fielded shotguns. The Mossberg 500 and Remington 870 shotguns currently in Soldiers’ hands are military versions of familiar, widespread commercial arms. They are stand-alone weapons with tube magazines, weighing between 7 and 8 pounds. The M26 differs in that it can be used as an attached module to the M4 or as a stand-alone weapon; uses a box magazine; and weighs just 5.5 pounds in stand-alone configuration and 3.5 pounds as an attached module.
The modular aspect of the M26 offers distinct advantages in some environments. Mounting a shotgun to an M4 can result in a weapon system with instant lethal and less-than-lethal capabilities.
The lighter weight of the M26 is an advantage in all environments, although reducing the shotgun’s weight presented a design challenge. Less weight means more acute recoil forces.
The answer to this challenge was the introduction of an innovative hydraulic recoil buffer in the M26 buttstock. While the overall recoil force remains the same, the buffer effectively reduces the “felt recoil.” Users have compared the buffer’s effect to the difference between a slap and a push.
The box magazine is another innovative feature of the M26. Shotguns are flexible weapons because of the different types of ammunition they can fire, including buckshot, breaching, and less-than-lethal loads. Currently fielded shotguns must be unloaded one round at a time when the operator needs to change ammunition types. The M26 shortens switching ammunition to the amount of time it takes to change or reload a magazine.
The modular aspect of the M26 offers distinct advantages in some environments. Mounting a shotgun to an M4 can result in a weapon system with instant lethal and less-than-lethal capabilities. The M26 brings this much-needed capability to situations in which force escalation is a concern, such as at checkpoints and during detainee handling operations. User testing showed that Soldiers transition from less-than-lethal engagements with the M26 to lethal engagements with an M4 faster than when using a stand-alone conventional shotgun.
Urban operations that include door-breaching scenarios can also favor the M26 MASS. Shotguns are a primary tool for ballistic door breaching. The M26’s magazines allow a fast change from conventional buckshot ammunition to specialized door-breaching rounds. When there is a high likelihood of breaching operations, using the M26 MASS attached to the M4 lowers the Soldiers’ load by more than 4 pounds.
Fielding Through 2015
PM SW will be fielding two M26s per squad, 18 per unit, to Military Police and Engineer organizations through 2015. Fielding will begin with predeployers in CONUS. The Army has already taken delivery of 1,900 weapons to support the initial fieldings and has approval and funding to procure 8,000 M26s in all.
- STAN EMELANDER is Product Director for the M26 Modular Accessory Shotgun System at PEO Soldier’s Project Manager Soldier Weapons, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J. A retired Army officer, Emelander holds a B.S. in physics from the United States Military Academy, an M.B.A. and an M.S. in systems management from the Florida Institute of Technology, and a Ph.D. in organization and management from Capella University, He is Level I certified in systems management, Level II certified in program management, and is a certified Project Management Professional. Emelander is a member of the U.S. Army Acquisition Corps.
The adenovirus vaccine (officially known as the Adenovirus Type 4 and Type 7 Vaccine, Live, Oral) has been used since Oct. 24, 2011. It protects military trainees against febrile respiratory illness (FRI)—with fever plus symptoms such as coughing and sneezing—caused by adenovirus Types 4 and 7. The adenovirus vaccine goes into the mouth of every basic trainee of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.
It does not get there by accident.
The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command manages the development of adenovirus vaccine. The Pharmaceutical Systems Division of the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity (USAMMDA) houses the product manager and support staff. The Integrated Product Team (IPT), chaired by the product manager, developed the concept for deployment and distribution of adenovirus vaccine well before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration licensed the vaccine in March 2011. The Milestone Decision Authority approved the basic distribution concept—just-in-time deliveries directly from the manufacturer to the points of use—at Milestone B and C decision reviews.
When basic trainees become ill, the U.S. government expends resources by diagnosing and treating illness, paying trainees who are too ill to train, and making adjustments to the training schedule. The use of adenovirus vaccine is cost-effective when the cost of vaccine is less than the sum of the costs avoided. Under the low-rate initial production contract, the Army procures adenovirus vaccine at a cost lower than the threshold cost, defined as the highest cost at which procurement of vaccine is favorable, as assessed in a cost-benefit analysis.
Analysis of data collected by the Naval Health Research Center shows that the use of adenovirus vaccine has had a very favorable impact on the FRI rate. Disease caused by adenovirus Types 4 and 7 is no longer an issue during basic training.
The manufacturer supplies adenovirus vaccine in a package of two bottles. The IPT’s logistics working group, which includes the manufacturer, conducted a series of test shipments to ascertain the effectiveness of procedures to maintain the cold chain for the vaccine, which must be kept at a certain temperature during transportation and storage. Adenovirus vaccine reached all of the points of use, the nine basic training installations for the U.S. military services, within 48 hours after packing—the period within which the packed vaccine could reliably be kept within temperature limits.
The number of shipping containers sent by commercial carrier varies from month to month and by destination. The product manager develops a shipping plan from estimates of the number of recruits who will arrive at each site. The services need approximately 240,000 doses per year, a figure that includes a safety margin. Upon receiving the shipping plan, the manufacturer ships the number of doses of vaccine needed to immunize recruits in the following month. Since shipments began in October 2011, the manufacturer has shipped 100,800 doses to the training sites without incident.
The Adenovirus Vaccine Product Management Office has two links to the field, both represented on the IPT. The Distribution Operations Center of the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency (USAMMA) communicates with relevant logistics personnel at each of the receiving sites to call their attention to imminent deliveries, inquire about the condition of vaccine received, and respond to any questions or concerns relating to shipments.
After the receiving personnel evaluate basic information from the temperature monitors, they ship the monitors to USAMMA, where its personnel download a complete data set and then contact the manufacturer for information and advice on any questions regarding vaccine quality.
The Military Vaccine Agency, a component of the Office of the U.S. Army Surgeon General, is the IPT’s link to preventive medicine staff at each installation, and to senior public health officers of each of the services. With these links, the product manager and IPT are well-positioned to acquire, process, and disseminate information on a timely basis, which remains critical to the distribution of this important vaccine.
- CLIFFORD E. SNYDER JR. is the Product Manager for Adenovirus Vaccine in the Pharmaceutical Systems Division of USAMMDA. He holds a B.A. in natural sciences from Johns Hopkins University, a Ph.D. in biology from the University of Virginia, and a J.D. from George Washington University. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps Officers Basic Course. Snyder is Level III certified in program management, and is a member of the U.S. Army Acquisition Corps.
Crawl, Walk, Run: That simple phrase is the common refrain heard in U.S. Army training facilities throughout the world. This approach forces new Soldiers to focus on the basics before moving onto more advanced techniques. In Afghanistan, that same training principle is being applied at the recently opened Afghan National Army (ANA) Armor Branch School.
In March, the ANA will take possession of the first 58 of 352 Mobile Strike Force Vehicles (MSFV) to enhance their quick reaction and Mobile Strike Force (MSF) capabilities. These vehicles represent the first kandak, or battalion, size element of armored vehicles for the ANA. This capability will be critical when U.S. forces begin their drawdown.
Nonetheless, before the MSFVs can be put into the fight, the drivers must be trained to operate, use, and maintain the vehicles. Those training sessions began in December 2011 with the first Train the Instructor class (T2I).
“The initial Train the Instructor course was a huge success. It developed confidence, built relationships, and enabled us to fully understand the challenges associated with conducting training across multiple languages and cultures,” said MAJ Patrick McFall, the Forward-Deployed Representative from Product Manager Armored Security Vehicle (PM ASV). “The success of this training regime is directly attributed to the hard work and determination of the entire team.”
The MSF, managed by PM ASV, falls under the leadership of Project Manager Joint Combat Support Systems (PM JCSS) within the Program Executive Office Combat Support and Combat Service Support.
The U.S. Army’s Maneuver Support Center of Excellence (MSCoE) plays a critical role by leading the T2I effort, which is a combined effort of MSCoE, the French Armor Branch School, the ANA Armor Branch School, PM ASV, and Textron Marine and Land Systems. PM ASV has been actively working with the Combined Security Training Command-Afghanistan to provide a complete fielding, training, and long-term sustainment program for the five newly organized ANA kandaks.
“The initial Train the Instructor course was a huge success. It developed confidence, built relationships, and enabled us to fully understand the challenges associated with conducting training across multiple languages and cultures.”
The inaugural class was attended by 71 Afghan instructors, who will form the initial training force for the ANA Armor Branch School. “The final event of the training was a live-fire exercise designed to test the knowledge acquired by the ANA instructors and to promote confidence within their ranks,” said COL William Boruff, PM JCSS.
“As the ANA instructors initially approached the vehicle with ammunition in their arms, their faces were apprehensive. They didn’t know what to expect. As they entered the turret, loaded the rounds, and fired the weapon systems, you could see their confidence build with each engagement,” said McFall.
The MSFV being fielded to the ANA is an updated version of the ASV, a platform that has more than four decades of proven performance. The modifications on the MSFV allow for additional protection while still using commercial-off-the-shelf parts. The MSFV family consists of three variants, each designed to meet a specific combat role and enhance the ANA MSF capability. The variants include an Armored Personnel Carrier with Gunner’s Protective Kit, an Armored Personnel Carrier with Turret, and an Armored Ambulance.
“The MSFV provides each MSF kandak, with a rapidly deployable, highly mobile armored capability that can quickly maneuver in an all-terrain environment, while concurrently providing the ANA with sufficient firepower to conduct a wide variety of operational missions over an extended range and distance,” said CPT Joseph Denning, in the PM ASV office.
- BILL GOOD is the Operations Officer for PM ASV. He holds an M.A. in public relations and organizational communication from Wayne State University.
The ‘Bosses’ of NIE: Army Acquisition Officers Are Key to Success of Network Integration Evaluations
In the months since the Army concluded its second Network Integration Evaluation, NIE 12.1, in November 2011, hundreds of Soldiers, engineers, developers, and program managers have remained at Fort Bliss, TX, and White Sands Missile Range, NM, to complete vehicle integration design work, de-install 12.1 platforms, integrate the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical test platform, and participate in new equipment and field training exercises, all in preparation for NIE 12.2.
NIE 12.2, taking place in April and May, is the third installment in a series of semiannual evaluations designed to integrate and rapidly advance the Army’s tactical network. In the first two evaluations, the Army brought together the test, acquisition, and doctrine communities to test and evaluate the network in a completely integrated fashion, demonstrating the Army’s holistic focus on integrating network components simultaneously in one operational venue.
Decisive to the NIEs’ success are a group of Army officers gathered from across the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology (ASAALT), who are known as the “Trail Bosses.” They coordinate across members of the TRIAD, which manages the NIEs—the Brigade Modernization Command, U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, and ASAALT’s System of Systems Integration (SoSI) Directorate—and across the full spectrum of functional disciplines supporting the NIEs. They are well-versed in networked operations and operational vignettes, data collection, and hardware and software troubleshooting.
The Trail Bosses are field-grade Army acquisition officers whose traditional roles and scope of work have been transformed to support the NIEs. Each Trail Boss and respective team serves as SoSI’s primary interface among multiple product management offices, integrated product teams, industry representatives, and the six battalions in the 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division (2/1 AD). In NIE 12.1, the six Trail Bosses managed teams of 8 to 10 people, with interface to another 20.
The 3,800 Soldiers of 2/1 AD provide invaluable feedback to the acquisition community about the systems undergoing test and evaluation, ultimately leading to better capabilities getting into the hands of deployed troops faster and more often.
Trail Bosses are the conduit between their assigned 2/1 AD battalion and a workforce of engineers, logisticians, testers and evaluators, and industry partners to ensure flawless execution of the evaluations. Their daily activities can include anything from training Soldiers and supporting field service representatives (FSRs) to advising leadership on the status of schedules, physical integration, training, preparation, and execution of activities associated with each exercise.
“Our battalion Trail Bosses are assistant product managers who provide a critical interface with their supported battalion to plan, receive, train, employ, maintain, and troubleshoot systems nominated to participate in the NIEs,” said LTC Erik Webb, 2/1 AD Trail Boss.
Webb develops and leads the six battalion-level Trail Boss teams: military, engineering, logistics, test, information assurance, resource management, and combat development personnel.
“Their task goes beyond the management of cost, performance, and schedule of a single product,” said Webb. “They are also responsible for the end-to-end integration of hardware and software systems in their supported units. This includes providing subject-matter expertise to assist the unit in the proper operation and employment of systems that have limited time for collective training and familiarization by the unit.”
Working hand in hand with their assigned battalions during the NIE, Trail Bosses work seven days a week to ensure that the units have everything needed to prepare for and execute an NIE, including equipment delivery and installation, training, test instrumentation, integration and checkout, and logistics support. They are responsible for the management of planning, synchronizing, and integrating the systems under test and evaluation into units participating in the NIEs. In NIE 12.1, two systems underwent formal testing, while an additional 46 were simultaneously evaluated—a significant jump from the six Systems Under Test and 25 Systems Under Evaluation in the first NIE. More than 43 systems will be part of NIE 12.2.
“Being a battalion Trail Boss involves building relationships with all stakeholders and gaining an understanding of the technical and operational capabilities of the systems, and the units’ vehicle platforms,” said MAJ John McGee, NIE 12.1 Integration and Aerial Tier Trail Boss.
These relationships are pivotal because for the first time, industry has been allowed to participate in the NIEs as part of the Army’s new agile acquisition process. The Trail Bosses help bridge any gaps between industry representatives, engineers, and FSRs—who may or may not be accustomed to working within the framework of the Army—and the Soldiers they are supporting. The NIE Trail Bosses have become experts on how to accomplish their missions, enable effective communication, and carry out successful NIEs in support of the Army’s overarching network modernization effort.
- System of Systems Integration Directorate Staff
Cutting-edge technology and energy initiatives that bring energy-efficient power generation to forward-deployed units in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) were showcased to senior DoD personnel Jan. 8.
Members of the 401st Army Field Support Brigade’s Field Assistance in Science and Technology Center (RFAST-C) and the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force (REF) were also at the demonstrations.
Frank Kendall, Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics, and Sharon E. Burke, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs, visited Camp Sabalu-Harrison at Bagram Airfield to see the first micro-grid emplaced in OEF. The micro-grid, which Burke’s office supported, is a joint venture involving Project Manager Mobile Electric Power (PM MEP) within Program Executive Office Command, Control, and Communications-Tactical; U.S. Army Research, Development, and Engineering Command (RDECOM), RFAST-C’s higher headquarters; and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan (USFOR-A).
The senior officials also saw several solar energy platforms that the REF uses in its Energy to the Edge initiative, providing portable energy solutions designed to operate more efficiently and to reduce fuel consumption and generator maintenance while storing excess energy to meet the energy requirements of combatant commanders in forward-operating tactical units.
After briefings on the static displays, Burke discussed the future of the micro-grid project and a new program, the Energy Initiative Proving Ground (EIPG) that will establish a quantitative baseline for energy and fuel use in expeditionary operations and will systematically evaluate the impacts of technology such as higher-efficiency environmental control units, insulating thermal tent liners, tent shades, and hybrid solar-electrical power.
The EIPG will also place a hybrid solar power system into a Village Stability Platform site for evaluation as a stable, reliable power source to reduce the fuel burden for critical command and control communication and surveillance systems.
Burke noted that the successful demonstration of the micro-grid project was uncertain after PM MEP had to recall its subject-matter expert in December. Michael J. Zalewski, RFAST-C Power and Energy Engineer, volunteered to steward Camp Sabalu-Harrison and the micro-grid to keep it operational and developed a memorandum of agreement among the RDECOM senior officer in OEF, PM MEP, and the camp mayor to share responsibilities. In the spring, primary power is slated to be run to the site, and the micro-grid will no longer be required.
Burke thanked LTC Alan C. Samuels, RFAST-C Director; U.S. Navy CDR Dane Honrado, Camp Sabalu-Harrison Life Support Area Commander; MAJ Thomas W. Casey, REF Team Chief, Afghanistan; and Zalewski for their work on energy initiatives.
- SUMMER BARKLEY is the Public Affairs Officer for 401st Army Field Support Brigade at Bagram, Afghanistan. She holds a B.A. in history from Old Dominion University and a master’s degree in public administration from Troy University. She has completed the Public Affairs Officers Course at Defense Information School.
The U.S. Army has taken another significant step forward in the strategic withdrawal of combat forces from Afghanistan with the shipment of the first 18 production Mobile Strike Force Vehicles (MSFVs) to theater.
These 18 vehicles, shipped in November 2011, are the first of 281 MSFVs that will be provided to the Afghan National Army (ANA) to enable a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) capability, which will be critical once U.S. forces begin their drawdown.
“The MSFV provides each QRF Kandak [battalion] with a rapidly deployable, highly mobile armored capability that can quickly maneuver in an all-terrain environment, while concurrently providing the ANA with sufficient firepower to conduct a wide variety of operational missions over an extended range and distance,” said CPT Joseph Denning, in the Product Manager Armored Security Vehicle (PdM ASV) office, which is assigned to the Project Manager Joint Combat Support Systems (PM JCSS) in Program Executive Office Combat Support and Combat Service Support.
The MSFV uses a modified, updated version of a Textron Marine and Land Systems vehicle platform design that has more than four decades of proven performance. The modifications to the MSFV allow for additional protection while still using commercial-off-the-shelf parts.
The MSFV family has three variants, each designed to meet a specific combat role and to meet and enhance the ANA’s QRF capability. The three variants include an Armored Personnel Carrier with Gunner’s Protective Kit, an Armored Personnel Carrier with Turret, and an Armored Ambulance.
“MSFV is the definition of a rapid fielding initiative,” said COL William Boruff, PM JCSS. “We have gone from receiving a theater-defined requirement to awarding a contract and completing the Army acquisition process, resulting in delivery of the first low-rate initial production vehicles off the production line in just 14 months.”
PdM ASV is working with NATO’s Combined Security Training Command – Afghanistan to provide a complete fielding, training, and long-term sustainment program to stand up seven newly organized ANA battalion-size units known as “Kandaks” by the end of 2013.
“This rapid fielding initiative will provide the ANA with a newly developed QRF capability that supports the U.S. strategic withdrawal by turning over the security of each Kandak’s operational area to a trained and equipped ANA unit,” Boruff said.
- BILL GOOD is the Operations Officer for Product Manager Armored Security Vehicle. He holds an M.A. in public relations and organizational communication from Wayne State University.
The U.S. Army’s Product Director Non-Standard Vehicles (PD NSV) is providing the Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF) with key maneuver capabilities that are critical to expediting the strategic drawdown of U.S. combat forces from Afghanistan by 2014.
In 2005 NATO’s Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan began equipping the ANSF with the Ford Ranger J97 Light Tactical Vehicle (LTV) to enhance the ANSF’s tactical capabilities and its ability to secure and stabilize Afghanistan. The ANSF includes the Afghan National Police (ANP) and the Afghan National Army (ANA); both branches heavily use the LTVs to carry out their mission of security and peacekeeping.
The LTV fleet has four variants—the cargo, mobile maintenance, police, and tactical ambulance vehicles. The Ford Ranger J97 light cargo pickup truck is the most commonly used vehicle in the ANSF. To date, more than 31,000 LTVs have been fielded to the ANA and ANP. An additional 10,000 are scheduled to be fielded by the end of 2012.
“At nearly 26,000 vehicles, the police variant is the highest-density vehicle in the ANSF fleet,” said LTC Graham Compton, PD NSV. “This variant is solely used by the ANP, while the cargo vehicle variant is used solely by the ANA.”
The remaining two variants, the ambulance and mobile maintenance vehicles, are used by both the ANP and ANA.
“Based on feedback from the field, the Ford Ranger LTV has been a dependable workhorse for the ANSF,” said Compton. “It is probably the most reliable and important asset to the ANSF, meeting the essential equipment needs to strengthen the capacity of Afghanistan’s security forces, enabling them to take lead responsibility for Afghanistan’s future.”
The LTVs are commercially acquired through Global Fleet Sales (GFS), an authorized Ford dealer. GFS is responsible for the integration of 31 modifications to the vehicles, equipping the fleet to effectively fulfill its mission and operate in an austere environment.
In April 2011, the Army’s Program Executive Office Combat Support and Combat Service Support established the [Product Director Non-Standard Vehicles] with the mission to provide life-cycle management of non-standard commercial light tactical, medium tactical, sport utility, and bus vehicle fleets for the ANSF.
Some of the modifications include the addition of provisions to carry and store weapons, a heavy-duty suspension package to increase mobility, and a robust vehicle collision protection package to improve winch and towing capabilities. The integration of an environmental package ensures cold-start operations in extremely low temperatures. The combination of these integrations with the extended-range fuel tank and the severe off-road package permits the ANA and ANP to stay in contact and to protect citizens in areas that are difficult for basic commercial vehicles to navigate.
In April 2011, the Army’s Program Executive Office Combat Support and Combat Service Support (PEO CS&CSS) established the PD NSV with the mission to provide life-cycle management of non-standard commercial light tactical, medium tactical, sport utility, and bus vehicle fleets for the ANSF. PD NSV’s mission is a critical component of U.S. combat forces’ overall transition plan.
“The ANSF lacked the logistical infrastructure, trained maintainers, and supply parts needed to effectively sustain the high density vehicle fleet,” said COL William Boruff, Project Manager Joint Combat Support Systems in PEO CS&CSS. “It was at this point that the Army tasked us to develop cradle-to-grave, life-cycle management to provide the ANSF with the capacity to be self-sustaining and independently conduct security operation missions.”
PD NSV supports future fleet acquisition requirements and validates total fleet requirements in country. It also develops and provides training manuals, and facilitates training for the ANSF.
“The stand-up of this organization shows the responsiveness of the acquisition community and leadership to the warfighter’s needs. Within a month of notification, the organization was chartered, resourced, and began providing vital program management support to the ANSF. We have made numerous trips to the Area of Responsibility, been integrated into the Foreign Military Sales teams and processes, and have provided timely and responsive results to meet warfighters’ needs,” said Compton.
This month, PD NSV will begin testing two Police LTVs at Yuma Proving Ground, AZ, to capture performance and reliability data. Results will help improve the technical specifications for future acquisitions of similar vehicles.
Other vehicles such as Navistar’s 7000 series Medium Tactical Vehicle, the Ford Everest Sport Utility Vehicles, and Blue Bird and Navistar Buses are also being supplied to the ANSF. Afghanistan’s terrain and environment demand the use of a diverse fleet of vehicles. This diversity, and the accompanying maintenance and management issues, clearly illustrate the need to educate, equip, and sustain the ANSF’s ability to manage and maintain a diverse fleet long after U.S. combat forces withdraw from Afghanistan.
- CYNTHIA MERRITT is a Strategic Communications Specialist for Project Manager Force Projection. She is currently pursuing a B.S. in integrated leadership studies from Central Michigan University.
- ALVIN BING is an Assistant Product Manager for Non-Standard Light Tactical Vehicles. He holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Howard University and an M.B.A. from New York Institute of Technology. He is Level III certified in program management, systems engineering, and program systems engineering and Level II certified in production, quality, and manufacturing. Bing is a U.S. Army Acquisition Corps member.
In an age of smartphones and high-tech gadgets galore, it may be surprising to hear that one of the next “big things” coming out of the electronics arena is being spearheaded by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC) at Fort Detrick, MD.
Since 2009, the USAMRMC has been directing, developing, and refining handheld telemedicine devices that could help save lives in theater. The culmination of this effort is drawing near for one of the candidate projects.
“The TEMPUS Pro is an advanced compact telemedicine system intended to support combat casualties in forward areas near point-of-injury on the battlefield,” said Dr. Gary Gilbert, Chief of the Knowledge Engineering Group for USAMRMC’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC). “The unit provides a capability for ‘point-of-injury data capture,’ which is a critical gap we are trying to fill.”
A potentially important resource for medics in the field, the TEMPUS Pro combines three devices into one handheld module, allowing for immediate communication with other units, pre-hospital monitoring of patient vital signs and telemetry data, and telementoring instruction from more experienced medical providers to less experienced combat medics in theater.
The unit also provides real-time audio and video capability, which is extremely useful in transmitting images of the wounded patient immediately to physicians at distant locations. A transcription feature for hands-free voice data input is on the horizon.
Born of a British commercial product developed for use on aircraft, the TEMPUS Pro is the result of a collaboration involving eight DoD organizations: TATRC; Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care; Defense Health Information Management System; U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory; U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research; U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency; U.S. Air Force Medical Evaluation Support Activity; and Office of the Command Surgeon, U.S. Joint Forces Command.
The USAMRMC team sees the opportunity for widespread use of the TEMPUS Pro in theater. About 25 units have been distributed to Special Operations commands for trial use, and the results have been positive.
Designed to be lightweight, mobile, and rugged, the TEMPUS Pro is intended for use with tactical communication radio networks that support Internet Protocol-based transmission, so that signals can be sent out digitally over classified and nonclassified systems. With this unit, personnel can transfer data from one device to another—from the ground to the helicopter to the hospital—keeping the patient’s medical information intact during transport out of the field.
Using either the standard military first responder medical data card, called the Tactical Combat Casualty Care Card, or a wireless “smart dog tag” that the Soldier could carry or wear, the patient’s vital records can be exchanged wirelessly between various systems and eventually placed into a permanent medical record. Using this secure digital system, data are neither lost nor compromised.
While storage of patient data is important, the device’s capabilities for transmitting both still photos and live video of injuries are essential for medics in the field.
Using the TEMPUS Pro, medics can quickly assess severe injuries and send real-time images to experienced surgeons off-site. The physician-mentor can immediately guide the medics through life-saving techniques instead of delaying effective treatment.
With ultrasound and laryngoscope capabilities in the works, the effectiveness of the field medic will increase exponentially. The ability to capture and transmit internal images will afford a more complete assessment of patient trauma, leading to more accurate diagnoses and treatment.
The USAMRMC team sees the opportunity for widespread use of the TEMPUS Pro in theater. About 25 units have been distributed to Special Operations commands for trial use, and the results have been positive.
Gilbert said the estimated price per unit is “in the ballpark” of the Propaq medical device currently used by the U.S. military, although the TEMPUS Pro has additional capabilities that are potentially more useful to the field medic.
“The medics from the USAMRMC, Special Operations Forces, Air Combat Command, and 1-25th Stryker Brigade Combat Team who have trained on this device said they like the unit and believe it would help tremendously in the field,” said Gilbert.
The TEMPUS Pro has been selected for the Army’s Network Integration Evaluation exercise to be held at Fort Bliss, TX, beginning in April 2012. The device will be field-tested for two months to determine its operational effectiveness within infantry brigade combat teams. The TEMPUS Pro has also been chosen for testing in a Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory limited objective experiment scheduled for August.
The USAMRMC team, including Gilbert, believes these two rigorous tests should help to validate the applicability and usefulness of the TEMPUS Pro. The anticipated success of the device in these exercises may help to confirm its potential for treating—and saving—wounded Soldiers on the battlefield.
- JEFFREY M. SOARES is a Communications Specialist with USAMRMC Public Affairs. He holds a B.S. in secondary education and English from the University of Scranton and an M.A. in English language and literature from the University of Maryland.
In a Connecticut industrial plant, far from the battlefields of Afghanistan, a system that has provided Soldiers with vital protection reached a significant milestone on Dec. 7, which happened to be the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The Army accepted the delivery of the 1,000th AN/AVR-2B Laser Detecting Set (LDS) from the Goodrich Corp. during a ceremony at the contractor’s facility in Danbury, CT. Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy; BG Harold J. Greene, Program Executive Officer Intelligence, Electronic Warfare, and Sensors (PEO IEW&S); and COL John Leaphart, Project Manager Aircraft Survivability Equipment, spoke to an audience of 500 employees, members of the Connecticut National Guard, and state and local officials about the value the sensors provide.
The system operates as part of the Aircraft Survivability Equipment suite on rotary-wing aircraft, which provides the air crew with a warning when the aircraft is illuminated by laser-guided or -aided weapons. The first AN/AVR-2B LDS was delivered in November 2006 with an Army objective ultimately to buy 1,880 systems. LDSs are being integrated onto the AH-64D Apache, HH-60L Pave Hawk, UH-60L Black Hawk, and OH-58D Kiowa helicopters with plans to begin integration on the CH-47 Chinook in FY12.
The ability to be aware of their surroundings and be confident that they will not be surprised by an enemy threat allows air crews to focus on mission objectives while flying sorties. The confidence the AN/AVR-2B provides is the result of a cooperative effort between the government and industry.
“It is crucial for my team to be first-rate, and the teams and organizations that we seek to do business with need to be first-rate as well, because there is no negotiating on the level of protection we provide our Soldiers who deploy in harm’s way,” said Leaphart. “What you do has meaning, it has impact, it has consequence. It matters to our Soldiers who are deployed, it matters to their families, it matters to our taxpayers, and it matters to our country.”
In addressing the crowd, Greene pointed out that a sign of the system’s success is the fact that the program goes unrecognized because the system is continually flying on missions and preventing the loss of air crews, passengers, and aircraft.
The AN/AVR-2B LDS has saved space, been more reliable, and offered greater flexibility while being cheaper than previous systems.
“It is the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Following that event, we sent many Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines off to war, but we also pulled together as a Nation back here and put a tremendous effort with our industrial base into producing the best equipment we could to provide our Soldiers an advantage on the battlefield,” said Greene. “You carry on that tradition today. This is a team sport with those who wear the uniform, supported by those in the community who provide them the best possible equipment, because we never want to send our Soldiers into a fair fight. Our Soldiers have a tremendous advantage, and that is what you are providing. You’re nullifying enemy weapon systems that they could use to kill or injure our brave men and women.”
The performance of the AN/AVR-2B program shows that it is a major success for both of its customers: the Soldier and the American taxpayer.
The AN/AVR-2B LDS has saved space, been more reliable, and offered greater flexibility while being cheaper than previous systems. It offers a 40 percent weight reduction and 30 percent less power consumption—significant benefits for the aviation community where size, weight, and power are at a premium. It is six times more reliable, with 2,500 hours mean time between failures vs. 400 hours over preceding systems.
The LDS is 30 percent less expensive than previous laser detection systems, while offering air crews a multitude of interface options. Since the program’s inception, the AN/AVR-2B has been produced at a rate of 20 systems per month, with a reliability of 100 percent on-time deliveries since production began.
During the ceremony, Malloy discussed the unique role Connecticut has had in supporting the military since the earliest days of the Nation. “From one citizen to another, thank you for your hard work and diligence in this matter,” said Malloy. “We have the best military in the world, the best trained, the best outfitted, most inspired, and we are in our part in our state making sure that they are secure and safe.”
- BRANDON POLLACHEK is the Public Affairs Officer for PEO IEW&S, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD. He holds a B.S. in political science from Cazenovia College and has 12 years’ experience in writing about military systems.