Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



Fort Lewis Soldiers Offer Feedback On New Vehicles

The Soldiers did their best Monday to accommodate manufacturers by challenging the vehicles and giving candid assessments. Responses among the Soldiers about all the vehicles and their capabilities were generally positive.
by Don Kramer
Fort Lewis WA (AFNS) Apr 04, 2007
No matter how useful it is to hear about the capabilities of new equipment from manufacturers, defense contractors know most honest appraisals come from Soldiers.

Members of the 14th Engineer Battalion and the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, have spent the last two weeks filling the ears of representatives from three manufacturers who came to post to solicit feedback about demonstration trucks as part of an advanced concept technology demonstration.

Lockheed Martin and International Truck and Engine Corporation brought joint light tactical vehicles bristling with prototype gadgets and features. A third company, Armor Holdings, furnished a pair of maneuver sustainment vehicles for evaluation. The MSVs came complete with touchpad-controlled cranes and fork lifts.

The prototypes are designed to replace those in the Army's fleet of tactical wheeled vehicles. But companies will never mass-produce the $10-million concept vehicles undergoing testing.

Feedback from the field will determine which of the high-tech features will survive. Assessments of Soldier feedback will allow the companies to produce what the Army needs without the expense of including features it doesn't want.

"We're finding out you need to know what the customer is looking for," said Dan Imhauser, Lockheed engineer. "That's what we're here for."

The Soldiers did their best Monday to accommodate manufacturers by challenging the vehicles and giving candid assessments. Responses among the Soldiers about all the vehicles and their capabilities were generally positive.

"I like them," said Pvt. Juancarlos Chavez, 402nd Brigade Support Battalion, of the Lockheed vehicles. "They drive so nice, just like a regular car."

Lockheed developed the truck's suspension based on a British design from Lotus Company, which received raves from 5th Brigade Soldiers.

"The way the suspension is set up, you don't feel much of the road," said Pvt. Shawn Sturgess, also of 402nd BSB. "With the air ride suspension, it's almost like driving a sports car."

Pfc. Michael Chermack, wheeled vehicle mechanic, liked best the adjustable ride height. "Everything is labeled," he said. "You press a button; it raises or lowers the truck to whatever height that's good for that terrain."

Its size is the Lockheed vehicle's strength, but also a weakness, according to Chermack.

"They made it capable of going fast and turning well, but the high silhouette raises the center of gravity," he said. "We had this thing in a good bit of mud and we were fish-tailing it. As soon as we got it in the mud, it started leaning and tilting all over the place."

Chermack echoed general concern about the hybrid engines in the Lockheed and International vehicles.

"We haven't come far enough in the hybrid technology to start using it on military vehicles," Chermack said. "They're having a lot of troubles with it. The batteries are draining really fast, and you have to keep the truck revved up real high to keep it going."

The International vehicle received similar kudos for ride and handling, but some Soldiers objected that the cab was cluttered. They were universally enthusiastic about the International's ability to four-wheel steer and move at angles, to "crab walk" sideways.

"We just got out of an insanely thick forest," Chermack said. "We weren't even going down any path. There were downed trees everywhere, and we used the four-wheel steer to go around it."

The International vehicle's hybrid engine, Sturgess said, is especially efficient and quiet.

"It's got a four cylinder instead of a V8," he said. "The motor is actually set in the back, and the batteries are in the front so you don't get as much sound coming through the cab."

Soldiers are finding similar strengths and weaknesses in the MSV by Armor Holdings. "It's got a really smooth ride," said Sgt. Jason Kriess, 14th Engr. Bn., "a lot less bumpy than a HEMMET."

He liked the crane's automatic controls, but found the vehicle's bells and whistles unnecessary.

"I didn't think the touch screen controls were really necessary for the driver," he said. "I wasn't too crazy about the digital gauges, either. There was quite a little bit of delay and jumps between speeds."

The manufacturers built vehicles for themselves, as well as those for the Army to test out feedback immediately while Soldiers continued their evaluations.

"We can play with this one while the Soldiers are out doing things," Imhauser said. "They're the ones who give us what's really good or bad. A lot of these sergeants have done their time in Iraq. It gives us a real perspective that we can take back to our engineers."

Email This Article

Related Links
The latest in Military Technology for the 21st century at SpaceWar.com

LockMart And Gibbs Tech Develop High Speed Amphibious Military Vehicles
Washington DC (SPX) Apr 04, 2007
Lockheed Martin and Gibbs Technologies have agreed to develop a family of high speed amphibious vehicles designed specifically for military operations.







  • US Military Chief Given Unprecedented Access In China
  • Indian Plans Naval Wargames With China, Japan, Russia, US
  • EU Dreams Of Common Army
  • Chairman Observes Chinese Land Combat Exercise

  • Captive Sailors Latest Chapter In Tormented British-Iran Ties
  • US Navy Steps Up Vigilance After Britain-Iran Standoff
  • Japan Calls For China Help In North Korea Banking Row
  • Looking For Trust In Tehran

  • India Says Air-To-Air Missile Tested And BrahMos To Be Deployed
  • System Monitors Health Of New Composite Military Missiles
  • Pakistan Test Fires Nuclear-Capable Cruise Missile
  • Boeing JDAM Scores Direct Hit In Extended Range Tests

  • Japan Deploys Its Own Patriots
  • US To Pursue Missile Shield With Or Without Moscow's Nod
  • GBIs Unaffected By June Rains
  • EU Foreign Ministers Await NATO-Russia Talks On Missile Shield

  • Nondestructive Testing Keeps Bagram Aircraft Flying
  • NASA Seeks New Research Proposals
  • Germans Urged To Give Foreign Travel A Rest To Curb Global Warming
  • Raytheon Team Proposes Single International Standard In ADS-B Pursuit

  • Insitu Selects RTI For Unmanned Air-Vehicle Products
  • Northrop Grumman Provides 24/7 Service To Navy Unmanned Systems Customers
  • Northrop Grumman Gets 287 Million Dollar Global Hawk Unmanned Aerial Systems Contract
  • Boeing Prepares First US Military ScanEagle Crews

  • An Iraqi Plan To Oust Militias
  • Moqtada al-Sadr's Long Game
  • Flickers Of Hope In Iraq
  • US Wounded Rates Rise In Iraq

  • LockMart And Gibbs Tech Develop High Speed Amphibious Military Vehicles
  • Old Windshields Offer New Protection
  • Fort Lewis Soldiers Offer Feedback On New Vehicles
  • KC-X Players Set For Opening Day

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement