Report: Osprey's Assault Vehicles Can't Carry Ammo

January 26th, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: Report: Osprey's Assault Vehicles Can't Carry Ammo

San Diego Union-Tribune
January 26, 2008 Jeeplike Growler is said to tip over
By Joseph Neff, McClatchy-Tribune News Service
RALEIGH, N.C. – When the Marines shipped their V-22 Osprey aircraft to Iraq last year, they had to leave behind the assault vehicles and mobile mortar system that fit inside the planes.
It turns out that the new mortar system can't safely carry its ammunition.
That conclusion, from a government audit, is the most recent bad news for the Marines' attempt to ferry firepower inside the Osprey. The Defense Department inspector general is investigating the program, which is two years behind schedule and $15 million over budget.
The system consists of a jeeplike vehicle called the Growler that pulls trailers carrying mortars and ammunition.
Each Growler costs $127,000 and is made in Robbins, N.C.
It can't safely pull its ammunition trailer, according to interviews and the Government Accountability Office report. The trailer has a tendency to bounce or tip over, which could crush a Marine riding in the back of the Growler. A Growler without a trailer was reported to have tipped over last summer when it swerved to avoid a turtle in the road.
The Marines won't discuss the program, known as the Expeditionary Fire Support System, because of the Defense Department's investigation.
The Osprey is a rotorcraft that takes off and lands like a helicopter and tilts its huge rotors forward to fly like an airplane.
The aircraft, which costs $119 million, has suffered cost overruns, a string of crashes that left 30 dead and repeated watering down of specifications during its two decades of development. The Pentagon has declared that most of the Osprey's problems have been fixed, and the first squadron of 12 Ospreys went to Iraq in October.
In 1999, the Marines decided the Osprey program needed assault vehicles to carry men and mortars to the battlefield.
Some Growlers will pull the mortar systems on trailers. Others will be outfitted with a machine gun.
The Ospreys are designed to take off from ships and go inland faster than helicopters. Once they land, the Growlers would provide assault firepower or machine-gun cover for Marines on foot.
In November 2004, the Marines awarded the contract to General Dynamics, which produced the mortar system. The defense giant uses a company in Robbins, N.C., called Carolina Growler to build a modified dune buggy whose design recalls Vietnam-era jeeps.
Gov. Mike Easley awarded Carolina Growler a $25,000 grant, and U.S. Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., helped the company get a $300,000 grant and a $112,000 loan from the U.S. Agriculture Department.
The contract award was disputed because the founder of Carolina Growler, Terry Crews, is a retired Marine colonel with strong connections at Marine headquarters in Quantico, Va.
A selection committee had recommended that Rae-Beck Automotive of Michigan get the contract rather than Carolina Growler. But the committee was overruled.
A complaint filed in the case says Rae-Beck built a cheaper and technically superior vehicle that did not need to use a trailer to transport the ammunition.
In September, as the Marines were poised to give final approval to the full order of 66 mortar systems and 600 Growler assault vehicles, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, asked the Marines to postpone the decision so the Government Accountability Office could investigate. Levin wrote the letter after complaints came from a Michigan company and after a Detroit TV station reported that a Growler traveling at 22 mph, without a trailer, had rolled over at Camp Lejeune, N.C., when it swerved to avoid a turtle.
Carolina Growler President Bill Crisp wouldn't discuss the turtle report, saying the accident report was classified: “That may or may not have been true.”
January 26th, 2008  
sounds like a giant "D'Oh!" on the part of the designers
January 26th, 2008  
Sounds like the fire support system is at fault, not the Osprey.
January 26th, 2008  
this thing?

ugly sucker
January 28th, 2008  
Any trailer would tip over if the vehicle towing it made a sudden turn while traveling fast

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