U.S. May Armor Most Vehicles

February 17th, 2008  
Team Infidel

Topic: U.S. May Armor Most Vehicles

this is a good idea. what do you think?

Defense News
February 18, 2008
Pg. 1
Add-on Protection Would Be Standard for Army and Marines
By Kris Osborn
The U.S. Army intends to equip its entire fleet of trucks, Humvees and other tactical vehicles with racks for removable armor and other troop-protection gear, while the Marine Corps plans a near-total upgrade of its own fleet, according to draft versions of the services’ Tactical Wheeled Vehicles strategies.
The services are responding to a Nov. 19 memo from Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, who asked them to update their multibillion-dollar vehicle plans in light of wartime operations and fast-moving new programs such as the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) and Joint Light Tactical Vehicle.
The plans, due to England in July, will be evaluated in August by the Joint Staff, including DoD’s Program Analysis and Evaluation office, the England memo said.
Army and Marine Corps officials declined to say how much adding the armor would cost, calling the plans “strategic and preliminary.”
Dean Lockwood, a military vehicles and defense industry analyst with Forecast International, a Connecticut-based think tank, said scalable armor can increase the cost of a new vehicle by $25,000 to $50,000. Since the Army plans to buy some 40,000 vehicles over the next five years, that would mean spending up to $2 billion on added protection.
Army Plan
The Army defines “tactical wheeled vehicles” as Humvees, MRAP, Route Clearance or Medium Mine Protected Vehicles, M1117 Armored Security Vehicles, Fox Reconnaissance vehicles, the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT), Heavy Equipment Truck, Palletized Load System and the emerging Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV). The Stryker, which runs on tracks, is also included.
The Army wants to equip all of these with A-kits, which is irremovable armor that surrounds a driver’s cab, and B-kits, which are add-on armor. The plan also calls for equipping the vehicles with fire-suppression kits, shock-absorbing seats and four-point seat belts, according to February documents that describe the draft plan. Defense News obtained a copy of the documents.
Some Army vehicles, such as the latest Humvee M1152, are already equipped with panels that accommodate add-on armor plates, allowing the vehicles to add protection or lose weight as needed. This also allows the vehicles to take on new kinds of armor as technology evolves.
“Each vehicle must have scalable protection: armor that can be installed and removed as dictated by operations. Today’s vehicles must have armor that relies on current technology. Each vehicle must have removable AoA,” or add-on armor, the documents say.
“The mandate is that nothing leaves a FOB [forward operating base] without being protected by armor,” said one Army official who is helping to put his service’s plan together.
That’s a smart move, Lockwood said.
“Almost every tactical vehicle, other than the M1152 Humvee, which has a bolt-on kit, is built with either no armor or armor welded on that cannot be removed,” he said. “Scalable armor is one step further than bolt-on armor. You can have multiple sets of armor for a given vehicle, giving the commanders’ different options.”
That also saves money, because a given vehicle can handle more kinds of jobs.
“Scalable armor may be the only viable option we have right now. If you do something permanent, you are limiting a vehicle, so scalable armor is a viable option. They [the Army] hope to have base vehicles, such as the JLTV, which can adapt to whatever the tactical situation may be,” Lockwood said.
The Army’s plan also calls for upgrading the armor carried by some Humvees and MRAPs.
Some of the add-on armor on MRAPs in Iraq and Afghanistan has been too heavy and has restricted the vehicles’ mobility in cities, an Army official said.
“You can armor up to a point where the vehicle cannot move. With some of our vehicles, we’ve added so much weight that it stresses the drive chain, so the only thing that will work is improved technology,” the Army official said.
But adding add-on armor to the entire fleet will not be simple, Army and industry officials say. Building new vehicles, such as the JLTV or new versions of the existing fleet, would, in some cases, likely be easier and more cost-effective than trying to retrofit existing vehicles, Lockwood said.
Even putting scalable armor on new trucks requires design and manufacturing changes, said John Stoddart, president of Oshkosh’s defense division.
“It is difficult to armor a vehicle by just hanging stuff on it, so what we are trying to do is build into the system the ability to accept extra armor,” he said.
Already in Works
The Army is already building some new vehicles with add-on armor as part of its long-term armor strategy. This summer, Oshkosh will begin production of its upgraded HEMTT A4, a 19-ton logistics truck protected by an armored cab, which can accept add-on armor.
“For many years, the strategy was not to armor logistics vehicles because they were not coming into the fighting front,” Stoddart said. “That dynamic changed a little when people started using gun trucks for protecting convoys, but we never got into armoring logistics vehicles because there is a penalty in payload.”
Land mines and roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan changed that.
If England approves the wheeled-vehicle plan, Oshkosh will build all its tactical trucks with scalable armor, including the Army’s Heavy Equipment Truck and Palletized Load System, he said.
The vehicle plan also calls for reducing the number of MRAP variants in the field to streamline logistics and maintenance. The Army has MRAPs by at least five manufacturers, including BAE and Armor Holdings, Force Protection, General Dynamics and Navistar. To help determine which ones to keep, field commanders have been asked to report on their preferred MRAP variants soon, the Army official said.
The plan calls for more thought about what roles the MRAPs will ultimately play in the fleet, but stops short of a long-term purchasing commitment.
The Marines’ Plan
The Marines intend to add scalable armor to their entire tactical-vehicle fleet as well, except for the already armored Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV), a next-generation amphibious assault vehicle that must be able to swim 25 miles to shore, PEO Land Systems spokesman Dave Branham said.
The Marines’ fleet includes the Humvee JLTV, Medium Personnel Carrier, EFV, Logistics Vehicle System Replacement (LVSR), Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) and Internally Transportable Vehicle.
The decision to armor the entire fleet emerged from the success of armored MTVRs, which survived hits from roadside bombs in Iraq, said Tom Miller, Marine Corps program manger for the LVSR and MTVR.
The Corps is already adding Israeli-made Plusan armor to three-fifths of its 7,700 MTVRs, the 19-ton trucks that move people and supplies through combat zones, and may uparmor the entire fleet.
But the extra protection lowers the MTVR’s payload — nominally 15 tons on roads or 7.1 tons off-road. And the uparmored truck received heavier axles to accommodate the load. Yet the MTVR is going to need all its capacity if it is to handle the many roles the Marines envision.
“The MTVR will need to push mine rollers [arms that extend in front of trucks], transport troops and fill a lot of gaps with certain things the Humvee can’t do,” Miller said.
So the Corps is preparing to test lighter armor plates made of composites at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., in coming weeks.
The Marines are crafting their 2010-15 Program Objective Memorandum (POM) and preliminary Quadrennial Defense Review input to adjust vehicle-buying plans as necessary, Corps officials said.
Last year, they reduced the number of planned EFVs from 1,013 to 573, anticipating less need for heavy armor.
“We know the future is unpredictable. Four years from now, we do not know if we will be in Iraq,” said Chris Yonker, Marine Corps Combat Development Command mobility section head.
The two services are coordinating their plans; for example, both intend to use the JTLV, Branham said.
The services also plan to present their strategies together.

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