• Recent leadership program graduates prepare to mentor the next generation

    By Darrell Whitehurst

     

    FORT BELVOIR, Va. – Seven Army acquisition professionals are recent graduates of this year’s Excellence in Government Fellows (EIGF) program conducted by the Partnership for Public Service in Washington, D.C., taking with them a new-found view and approach to become effective leaders and mentors for the next generation of Army acquisition professionals.

    This year-long leadership development program is specifically designed for government acquisition professionals offering hands-on leadership development for project managers and other acquisition professionals who are competitively selected at the GS-14 and 15 grade levels and in some cases, high-performing GS-13 professionals.

    The purpose of the program is quite simple, but no small feat: transform managers into leaders.

    “It has truly been one of the best leadership programs that I have participated in within the Army,” said Karen Arnold, one of this year’s graduates and the director of logistics at Program Executive Office (PEO) Ground Combat Systems. “It really raises the self-awareness and self discovery of who you are as a leader.”

    The Partnership for Public Service Fellows is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to revitalize our federal government by inspiring a new generation to serve and by transforming the way government works. The U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center began the EIGF program in October 2009 graduating 60 acquisition professionals to date.

    Selected fellows remain in their full-time jobs and meet every six weeks for a total of 20 days throughout the year. On average, fellows devote up to five hours per week on course projects and are required to participate in training events in Washington, D.C. and other locations across the country.

    “The program also provided many valuable tools that can be utilized immediately on the job to help not only your leadership ship skills, but you as a person as well,” said Arnold.

    The program explores ways to retain the best leaders in the government acquisition concentration community (including contracting officers, program and project managers and others whose success is dependent on strategic acquisition leadership), and encourages them to develop and practice new skill sets, behaviors, and assume more strategic roles in their agencies. These same leaders can serve as mentors for the next generation.

    “I believe the success of the Army Acquisition workforce lies in the development, training and transformation of the next generation of contracting professionals,” said Kimberly Kolb, group manager-Information Technology Center at Army Contracting Command in N.J. “I will continue to apply the skills learned to achieve and measure results in difficult environments and strive to assume a more strategic role in my organization by building partnerships and motivating teams,” she said.

    Course requirements include the completion of a 360 degree feedback survey, developing individual mission statements, and participation in various team building and self-exploration exercises focused on the qualities of leadership.

    “One of the broadening and exciting aspects of the program was that each section was composed of participants from across the federal government,” said George Mitchell, product director at PEO Combat Support & Combat Service Support at Redstone Arsenal. “Completion of the program, besides making you a ‘Senior Fellow’ also creates opportunities for participation in follow-on activities among more than 20 years of graduates and a fairly large population for networking across the government,” he added.

    The application window for fiscal year (FY) 2014 EIGF program is closed; however, the FY15 program announcement opens next summer on June 12, 2014. Additional information about the program and the application process is available on the EIGF webpage. The program begins every October.

    Congratulations to the 2013 graduates:

    • Karen Arnold, PEO Ground Combat Systems, Warren, Mich.
    • Nita Clark, PEO Missiles and Space, Huntsville, Ala.
    • Kimberly Kolb, Army Contracting Command – Communications – Electronics Command Contracting Center Washington Operations, Washington, D.C.
    • Mark McCoy, PEO Combat Support & Combat Service Support at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, Warren, Mich.
    • George Mitchell, PEO Combat Support & Combat Service Support at Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, Ala.
    • Juan Patino, PEO Ammunition, Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.
    • Marilyn Shortle, Army Contracting Command – Communications – Electronics Command Contracting Center Washington Operations, Washington, D.C.

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  • Research & Development underway for Abrams Modernization

    The Abrams ECP ensures the Army can seamlessly incorporate other programs of record into the Abrams well into the future, without degrading operational performance. (U.S. Army photo)

    Bill Good

     

    Over the past decade the only thing that has been able to slow the Army’s premier combat vehicle hasn’t been enemies on the battlefield, but rather the technological advancements added to the platform. While every vehicle is designed to have Space, Weight, and Power, or SWaP, margin for incremental improvements, recent upgrades made to the Abrams M1A2 System Enhancement Program Version 2 have left little margin for future improvements.

    The ECP1 upgrade will posture the tank to accept the Army network components in the near term, while building the necessary margin to accept future capabilities in the decades to come.

    “The Abrams main battle tank was developed over three decades ago in response to a major Soviet threat. We were fortunate that engineers had the foresight to design in enough SWaP margin to enable us to host new capabilities needed during our recent missions in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Lt. Col. William Brennan, product manager for Abrams.

    To help alleviate SWaP constraints, the Army has launched the Abrams Engineering Change Proposal, or ECP, program designed to reeestablish as much SWaP as possible by redesigning and modernizing many elements of the tank. This ECP is a modification to the system that leaves the essential capability unchanged. The Abrams ECP program will help ensure the Army can seamlessly incorporate other programs of record into the Abrams well into the future, without degrading operational performance.

    “Right now the electrical power is in short supply on the tank. The centerpiece of the ECP 1 upgrade will be to restore lost power margin through the integration of a larger generator, improved slip ring, battery management system and a new power generation and distribution system,” said Brennan.

    Other major Abrams ECP upgrades will focus on communications, data transmission and processing, and survivability. The communications upgrade will integrate the Joint Tactical Radio Systemand Handheld, Manpack, & Small Form Fit into the Abrams, replacing the current Single-Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System.

    The ability to incorporate the Army’s network is also a vital part of the ECP1 effort. To address network requirements the Abrams will integrate a gigabit Ethernet databus to allow greater data processing and transmission. The modified slip ring on the turret will provide the ability to transmit larger amounts of data into the turretand provide more power.

    “The ECP1 upgrade will posture the tank to accept the Army network components in the near term, while building the necessary margin to accept future capabilities in the decades to come,” added Brennan.

    While the Abrams remains the dominate vehicle on the battlefield, the ECP program will make it more formidable by including a new armor solution as well as an updated version of the counter-remote-control improvised explosive device electronic warfaresystem.

    Initial production of tanks with ECP1 upgrades is slated to begin in 2017.

    The Abrams ECP program is managed by Product Manager Abrams, which falls under leadership of the Project Manager, Heavy Brigade Combat Team within the Program Executive (PEO) Office for Ground Combat Systems (GCS).

     


    • Bill Good is with Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems Public Affairs.

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  • Bradley Changes to Upgrade Vehicle Across the Board

    The Bradley ECP is a modification to a system that leaves the essential capability unchanged, so while the Bradley will maintain its classic look on the outside, under the hood will be a different matter. (U.S. Army photo)

    Bill Good

     

    Since the Bradley Fighting Vehicle was first introduced to the Army in 1982 it has been constantly modernized; however, the upgrades conducted over the past decade have been particularly taxing to the platform.

    “It’s important to remember that armor improvements and the Bradley Urban Survivability Kit (BUSK) make today’s Bradley very different than the Bradleys that rolled into Iraq in 2003. The Army has not stopped improving its capabilities, but the Bradley has reached its limit of new capabilities it can accept without making some basic architectural improvements,” said Lt. Col. Glenn Dean, Product Manager for the Bradley and Armored Knight programs.

    Space, Weight, and Power-Cooling, or SWaP-C, limits have been reached within the Bradley’s current configuration, leaving little room for integrating future capabilities. During the conflict in Iraq, the Army upgraded the Bradley to improve Soldier protection. These modifications included improved armor, BUSK integration, and counter-radio-controlled improvised explosive device electronic warfare (CREW) devices. The improvements, while extremely effective, increased the weight and electrical power consumption of the vehicle leaving little remaining margin to add new capabilities. This problem becomes compounded by the need to integrate the Army’s new network systems — the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical, the Joint Tactical Radio System, and the Joint Battle Command-Platform software — and new systems such as next generation CREW devices, all of which require additional SWaP-C or computing capacity to operate.

    To ensure the vehicle can enable the Army’s network investment and incorporate other Army programs of record without further degrading operational performance, basic improvements will be made as part of the upcoming Bradley Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) program. An ECP is a modification to a system that leaves the essential capability unchanged. So while the Bradley will maintain its classic look on the outside, under the hood will be a different matter.

    The current Army plan breaks the Bradley ECP changes into two iterations. ECP 1 is designed to address the weight growth of the vehicle with early delivery of some mature products. It includes four capabilities — extended life; heavyweight track designed to handle larger vehicle weights; heavyweight torsion bars which will restore ground clearance lost to increased weight, improving cross-country mobility and underbelly blast protection; and improved durability road arms and shock absorbers, designed to reduce operating costs and maintenance intervals at increased vehicle weights.

    The Army has not stopped improving its capabilities, but the Bradley has reached its limit of new capabilities it can accept without making some basic architectural improvements.

    ECP 2 is focused on meeting electric power generation and computing requirements for network systems.

    “The intent of the Bradley ECP program is not to degrade the performance of the vehicle. If we simply added a larger generator to the current vehicle, we would get more electrical power, but at the expense of less automotive power for speed, acceleration, and cross-country mobility,” said Dean.

    To address this issue ECP 2 will include an upgraded generator and power distribution system, but will also require an engine and transmission modification to ensure automotive capability is not lost in order to power network systems.

    “The last time we did an engine power upgrade was with the Bradley A2 in 1988. With the ECP program, the Bradley will be able to keep pace with Army modernization, remaining capable and relevant into the next decade and beyond,” added Dean.

    Computing and data handling capability will also weigh heavily in the ECP effort. The digital bus architecture of the Bradley will be improved through incorporation of common intelligent displays, an improved slip ring, improved Ethernet switch, and VICTORY computing architecture standards, all of which will contribute to the integration and handling of the large volumes of data the new Army network systems require.

    Current plans are to apply both ECPs to just over 15 brigades, or about 1,860 vehicles. Some ECP 1 components are projected to be fielded during FYs 14 through 18, depending upon future defense budgets. ECP 2 will begin engineering design in FY13, and is scheduled for initial fielding in FY18.

    “The ECP effort is a total system solution to manage vehicle space, weight, and power to enable the network,” said Dean. “We’re taking the opportunity to deliver the weight management pieces early, since they are the most ready, while we complete the engineering of the rest of the changes. That way we can ensure a constant flow of improvements to the field.”

    The Bradley ECP program is managed by Product Manager Bradley/Armored Knight, which falls under leadership of the Heavy Brigade Combat Team within the Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems.

     


    • Bill Good is with Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems Public Affairs.

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  • Team Stryker receives 2012 Secretary of the Army Excellence in Contracting Award

    The Stryker Life Cycle Requirements Contracting Team received the 2012 Secretary of the Army Excellence in Contracting Team Award for outstanding Systems, Research and Development, and Logistics Support (Sustainment) Contracting. Here, Slovenian soldiers from the 74th Motorized Infantry Battalion and U.S. Soldiers from the 1st Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment conduct a Stryker convoy during Saber Junction 2012, a decisive action training environment exercise conducted at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, in October 2012. (Photo by SGT Ian Schell, Viper Combat Camera, U.S. Army Europe)

    Bill Good

     

    The Stryker Life Cycle Requirements Contracting Team has received the 2012 Secretary of the Army Excellence in Contracting Award for outstanding Systems, Research and Development, and Logistics Support (Sustainment) Contracting as a result of its work on a complicated follow-on contract that included more than a dozen scopes of work.

    “There were numerous submittals in this category, all of which exemplified contracting excellence in a teaming environment,” said Harry Hallock, Executive Director of the Army Contracting Command, in an email congratulating Team Stryker on its award. “Team Stryker’s selection as the ‘best of the best’ is a tribute to your professionalism and drive to accomplish the mission, as teammates and colleagues with individual and unique talents that are enhanced by working together for a common goal in support of your customer, every day.”

    The Stryker team was nominated for the exemplary performance it demonstrated during the acquisition planning and pre-solicitation phase associated with the fiscal year 2013-2015 Stryker Life Cycle follow-on requirements contract. The contract will enable the Stryker Team to cost-effectively continue its mission over the next three years and includes key services such as new equipment training, fielding, logistics and engineering support, and possibly, production.

    “Our most important mission is to provide Soldiers with ground combat systems that are adaptable, versatile, and affordable, all while ensuring we provide the taxpayer with the kind of value they deserve.”

    The entire program’s complement of life cycle mission requirements are contained under one base contract, with performance enacted by the issuance of delivery orders that are linked to 13 distinct scopes of work.

    “This means that Stryker has one contract with 13 different sections, each of which supports continued real time execution of the Stryker mission,” said David Dopp, project manager for the Army’s Stryker Brigade Combat Team. “The planning and pre-solicitation effort associated with this contract required careful orchestration across the organization.”

    The team developed several key elements needed to execute the project from start to finish, including an integrated master schedule and defined project organizational resource charts. Team Stryker created a specific working group for each scope of work —13 different working groups each responsible for their own scope of work and deliverables, and for developing, evaluating, and negotiating all elements of the proposed contract. “To say it’s a huge task would be an understatement,” said Dopp.

    “This project was successful because of Team Stryker’s ability to define and communicate the details of a highly complex and integrated project,” said Scott Davis, the Army’s Program Executive Officer for Ground Combat Systems. “To increase efficiency and reduce cost, the team defined and obtained approval to implement a staggered proposal submission and award schedule for each of the 13 distinct scopes of work, allowing the project to be managed within existing resources.”

    Davis added, “What is truly significant about this award is that it demonstrates the incredible attention to detail and adherence to best business practices that the Styker team goes through every day. Our most important mission is to provide Soldiers with ground combat systems that are adaptable, versatile, and affordable, all while ensuring we provide the taxpayer with the kind of value they deserve.”
     


    • Bill Good is with Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems Public Affairs.

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  • Army Begins Limited User Test of Paladin Upgrade

    Ashley John-Givens

     

    In late October, the Army began the Limited User Test (LUT) of the Self-Propelled Howitzer Paladin Integrated Management (PIM) program. Soldiers from Alpha Battery, 4th Battalion-27th Field Artillery, 1st Armored Division, of Fort Bliss, Texas are set to complete a week long field exercise in simulated combat conditions, evaluating the PIM’s operational capability and reliability.

    “The LUT will prove the suitability, effectiveness and survivability of the platform with Soldiers manning the system for the first time,” said Lt. Col. Dan Furber, product manager for Self-Propelled Howitzer Systems.

    Additionally, the Army will complete the Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability Growth Curve as required prior to the Milestone C Low Rate Initial Production decision scheduled to occur in June 2013.

    “If the PIM meets expectations the Army will begin Low Rate Initial Production in 2013, with the full production for a total of 580 sets of Self-Propelled Howitzer and Carrier Ammunition Tracked units scheduled to begin in early 2017,” added Furber.

    Currently, the Paladin PIM is slated to begin fielding in late FY17 as part of the Army’s modernization to its Self-Propelled Howitzer fleet.

    The PIM modernization effort is a significant upgrade of the M109A6 Paladin which includes buying back Space, Weight, and Power-Cooling. While the Self-Propelled Howitzer’s cannon will remain unchanged the PIM will sport a brand new chassis, engine, transmission, suspension, steering system, to go along with an upgraded electric ramming system. The new 600-volt on-board power system is designed to accommodate emerging technologies and future requirements, as well as current requirements like the Network. The on-board power system leverages technologies developed during the Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon program.

    “The LUT will prove the suitability, effectiveness and survivability of the platform with Soldiers manning the system for the first time.”

    “The 70 kW 600-volt on-board power system is a key enabler for adding future capabilities to the PIM once it’s fielded. Anything new the Army gives us, we now have the power to integrate,” said Col. Bill Sheehy, project manager for the Army’s Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT).

    These improvements will ensure the PIM can keep pace on the battlefield with other members of the Army’s HBCT formation from both an automotive and technological standpoint. PIM is engineered to increase crew force protection, improve readiness and vehicle survivability, and avoid component obsolescence.

    As a way of keeping life-cycle costs down, the PIM shares power train and suspension components and other systems with the Bradley Fighting Vehicles. Establishing a level of commonality between the vehicles means increased availability and lower costs over the years.

    The M109 Paladin has been a staple of the battlefield for the better part of the last five decades and the improvements made by the PIM will allow the M109 to stay relevant for the foreseeable future.

    The PIM Program modernizes the M109 set of vehicles: the Self-Propelled Howitzer and the Carrier Ammunition Tracked. The effort is being led by Product Manager Self-Propelled Howitzer Systems, which falls under leadership of the Project Manager, Heavy Brigade Combat Team within the Program Executive Office for Ground Combat Systems (PEO GCS).
     


    • Ashley John-Givens is with PEO GCS Public Affairs.

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  • New Product Office Focuses on Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle

    LTC Doug Miller, Product Manager for the newly created AMPV program, cuts the cake during the June 14 ceremony marking his assumption of charter. Alongside Miller are COL William Sheehy, Project Manager HBCT, and Deputy Program Executive Officer Ground Combat Systems Dr. Paul Rogers. (U.S. Army photo)

    Bill Good

    “The AMPV will provide the Army heavy brigade combat team with improved maneuverability, force protection, and networking capability. We have recently brought together a fantastic group of individuals to stand up this office, and we are ready to move out and start working with industry to develop this capability for our Soldiers in the HBCTs.”

    The U.S. Army, in its continued dedication to modernizing its heavy brigade combat team (HBCT) vehicle fleet, has stood up a new product management office dedicated to fielding the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV).

    At a ceremony in Warren, MI, June 14, LTC Doug Miller assumed the charter of Product Manager for the AMPV program within Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems (PEO GCS). The AMPV will be a new family of vehicles designed to replace a portion of the Army’s M113 fleet.

    “The AMPV will provide the Army heavy brigade combat team with improved maneuverability, force protection, and networking capability. We have recently brought together a fantastic group of individuals to stand up this office, and we are ready to move out and start working with industry to develop this capability for our Soldiers in the HBCTs,” Miller said.

    Under the current plan, the AMPV will replace all M113s in formations at brigade level and below. A decision on the remaining M113s, in units above the brigade level, will be made at a later date. The AMPV family of vehicles will have five variants: general purpose, mortar carrier, medical evacuation, medical treatment, and mission command.

    The U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Analysis Center at Fort Leavenworth, KS, (TRAC Leavenworth) recently conducted an analysis of alternatives (AoA) for the M113 vehicle. After the AoA report is approved by the Office of the Secretary of Defense Director of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, the Army will release to industry a request for proposal outlining the specific capabilities it is looking for. An industry day has been tentatively scheduled for September.

    “The M113 has been and will be a longstanding member of our formations. However, as we look to the future and see the types of systems that will need to be incorporated on our vehicles, it has become evident that certain variants of the M113 needed more SWaP-C [size, weight, power, and cooling]. The AMPV program will address those needs and provide our Soldiers with a modern platform,” said COL William Sheehy, Project Manager HBCT.

    The key premise for the Army’s AMPV revolves around additional SWaP-C. The current M113 has been in service for almost five decades and, although it has been upgraded over the years, it has reached its full potential on the modern battlefield. The new AMPV will not only incorporate all of the Army’s current systems but also additional SWaP-C to allow for future growth.

     


    • BILL GOOD is a Public Affairs Specialist for PEO GCS. He holds a B.S. in broadcasting from Siena Heights University and an M.A in public relations and organizational communication from Wayne State University.

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  • Bradley Urban Survivability Kits Installed Early and Under Budget

    COL Ross Davidson, Commander, 1st Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 2nd Infantry Division, with BAE Systems’ BUSK III Modification Team. The team was able to complete the mission of enhancing the Bradley Fighting Vehicles of the 1st BCT and the U.S. Army Materiel Command prepositioned stock a month ahead of time and 20 percent under budget. (U.S. Army photo)

    Bill Good

    In mid-June, the Bradley A3 Fighting Vehicles assigned to units stationed in the Republic of Korea became the latest in the fleet to receive the Bradley Urban Survivability Kit III (BUSK III) upgrades.

    The BUSK III Modification Work Order (MWO) application began for the 1st Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (ID) and U.S. Army Materiel Command prepositioned stocks in January and concluded on June 4, a month ahead of schedule.

    The BUSKs allow the Army’s infantry fighting vehicle to better adapt to the rigors of urban combat. BUSK III incorporates four modifications, including a blast-proof fuel cell, a blast-resistant driver seat, a turret survivability system, and an emergency ramp release.

    “The team involved did an amazing job, when you consider the statistics,” said LTC Glenn Dean, Product Manager for Bradley within Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems (PEO GCS). “Our BUSK III installation team applied approximately 2,400 total MWOs and repairs on 236 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, finishing a month earlier than projected and 20 percent under budget. That constitutes roughly $700,000 in savings.”

    The BUSKs allow the Army’s infantry fighting vehicle to better adapt to the rigors of urban combat. BUSK III incorporates four modifications, including a blast-proof fuel cell, a blast-resistant driver seat, a turret survivability system, and an emergency ramp release.

    The team was able to save time and money by bundling other pending MWOs while installing BUSK III on the vehicles. Modifications applied in addition to the four BUSK III MWOs were electrical ground improvements, a fire suppression guard improvement, an automatic fire suppression system control panel switch guard, and a hotbox protection system enhancement. The installation team also conducted check and repair activities to address the control panel retrofit, track adjuster, driver’s hatch bearings, and generator re-torque.

    “Events like this demonstrate the best of both worlds. Operationally, our teams installed critical force protection enhancements to the Bradley A3, which will allow our forces to maintain battlefield dominance well into the future. Simultaneously, we did it ahead of schedule and well below cost. The BUSK III team did a marvelous job,” said COL William Sheehy, PEO GCS’ Project Manager Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT).

    After finishing work in Korea, the BUSK III installation team’s next stop was Fort Carson, CO, to begin servicing the 4th ID’s Bradleys.

     


    • BILL GOOD is a Public Affairs Specialist for PEO GCS. He holds a B.S. in broadcasting from Siena Heights University and an M.A in public relations and organizational communication from Wayne State University.

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  • Army Designing Upgraded, Next-Generation Stryker

    A Stryker vehicle rounds a corner in a Taloqan District village, Takhar province, Afghanistan, Oct. 22, 2011, as SPC Josh Bates, a medic with 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division (1/25 SBCT), keeps watch. (U.S. Army photo by SSG Lindsey Kibler, 1/25 SBCT Public Affairs)

    Kris Osborn

    “The Army’s cost-benefit analysis will look closely at these four technology areas and determine the best way to get the most efficiency out of the dollars available to improve the platform.”

    Engineers from the U.S. Army and General Dynamics are making progress designing and implementing Engineering Change Proposals (ECPs) for Stryker vehicles, focusing on technologies that will provide the platform a stronger engine, improved suspension, more on-board electrical power, and next-generation networking and computing technology.

    The Army’s fleet of more than 4,187 Strykers includes 10 variants of the flat-bottom platform and an additional seven variants of the double-V hull design. The fleet continues to maintain an overall readiness availability rate of more than 96 percent throughout operations in theater, Army officials said.

    “We’re taking a leap forward to bring this platform to where it will benefit the Army for years to come,” said Steven Campbell, DA Systems Coordinator, Stryker.

    Phase 1 of the Stryker ECPs will lead to a preliminary design review and the construction of a demonstrator vehicle next summer. Phase 1 includes key improvements to the platform designed to, among other things, improve the vehicle’s overall performance, computing, and onboard electronics capabilities.

    The thrust of Phase 1 includes a clear focus on four specific technologies, including an electrical power upgrade designed to replace the current Stryker’s 570-ampere alternator with a more powerful 910-amp alternator, and an engine upgrade replacing the existing 350-horsepower (hp) engine with a stronger, 450-hp engine. The new engine, a commercial-off-the-shelf item, reflects an emphasis on acquiring technically mature capabilities.

    “We’re using a Caterpillar C9 engine, a mature technology already in use. We will package this to fit inside the engine compartment and provide enough cooling for it to operate effectively,” said LTC Jim Schirmer, Product Manager Stryker.

    “The Stryker ECP also includes a redesigned, stronger suspension that will improve vehicle mobility at higher weights, and an in-vehicle network giving the platform a ‘digital backbone’ able to improve data and video sharing between crew stations in the vehicle,” Schirmer explained.

    The in-vehicle network will include a managed switch, intelligent software, display screens, and processing units, which will allow secure and reliable data sharing between the systems onboard the vehicle. This will also reduce the size, weight, and power requirements of the future systems integration of components on the vehicle platform.

    “For example, data and video from the driver’s thermal viewer, odometer readings, Blue Force Tracker, One-System-Remote Video Terminals, and screens which show weapons and targeting-related information will all be shared seamlessly across the various workstations,” Schirmer said. “We have already started some of the early software development for this.”

    “We’re taking a leap forward to bring this platform to where it will benefit the Army for years to come.”

    The in-vehicle network approach is grounded in “open architecture,” meaning that computing technologies, information technology systems, and electronics all will be built to a common set of technical standards, ensuring maximum interoperability. This set of standards, referred to as VICTORY, will enable a single computer or system to run a host of interoperable applications and functions. With the VICTORY architecture, the vehicle will be able to streamline and more easily exchange and transmit information, while ensuring that the maximum number of programs and applications are available on any given computer or display screen.

    These areas of improvement for the Stryker are now being examined as part of an ongoing cost-benefit analysis, slated for completion later this year.

    “The Army’s cost-benefit analysis will look closely at these four technology areas and determine the best way to get the most efficiency out of the dollars available to improve the platform. We want to make sure that we capture what we need to do, and do so within fiscal reality and other Army priorities,” said Norman Stuckey, DA Systems Coordinator, Stryker.

    The Strykers receiving the ECPs will be better equipped to receive a host of new networking gear already being outfitted on vehicle platforms, including Warfighter Information Network – Tactical, a mobile satellite communications and radio network, and a next-generation force tracking application called Joint Battle Command – Platform, among other things.

     


    • KRIS OSBORN is a Highly Qualified Expert for the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology Office of Strategic Communications. He holds a B.A. in English and political science from Kenyon College and an M.A. in comparative literature from Columbia University.

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