Tactical Tailor

Archive for the ‘Army’ Category

Harnessing Hybrid Vehicles for Superior US Army Operations

Saturday, April 13th, 2024

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — In February 2024, the Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office demonstrated the operational advantages of hybridization to several distinguished guests. The demonstration centered on highlighting the vehicle’s impressive features, which include an extended silent watch, silent mobility, increased on-board power generation and off-board power export.

The RCCTO’s Tactical Hybrid Electric Vehicle program demonstrates the operational effectiveness and automotive performance of standard tactical vehicles while validating the operational benefits of hybridization. Integrating hybrid electric technology will enable the vehicles to operate silently at greater range and more available power for weapon systems and power grids on and off the vehicle. All of these remarkable features provide greater capabilities for our Soldiers.

“The work that the government team and the DoD contractors have completed is a game changer for the Soldiers in the field. We have added silent mobility capability, exportable power, and increased the vehicle range with batteries while reducing heat signature and sound,” said Michael E. Foster, Sr., Director of the Rapid Acquisition Prototyping Project Office within the RCCTO.

“Today’s demonstration underscores the importance of continuing to invest in and develop these technologies. By evaluating innovations, bridging gaps, and collaborating with industry, we strengthen our ability to provide the best tools and resources for our Soldiers, enhancing their safety and capabilities on the frontlines,” said Lt. Gen. Robert A. Rasch, Jr., Director of the Rapid Capabilities and Critical Technologies Office.

The ongoing prototyping efforts for the Stryker and High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle continue to give Soldiers the opportunity to validate hybrid electric technologies in operational environments. These vehicles are being tested in real-world military settings to assess their performance and efficiency, ultimately shaping the future of hybrid electric vehicles in military applications.

By Venetia Gonzales

US, Canadian Special Forces Forge Partnerships in Jamaica

Friday, April 12th, 2024

KINGSTON, Jamaica – The District of Columbia Army National Guard joined forces with elite U.S. and Canadian Special Operations Forces for a subject matter expert exchange in Jamaica.

The collaboration with SOF counterparts from the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, and Trinidad and Tobago marked a significant milestone in international military cooperation amid Tropical Dagger, an annual event orchestrated by Canada in partnership with the Jamaica Defense Force focusing on the Jamaican SOF element.

The D.C. National Guard’s Lt. Col. Tyson Mele, Maj. Bill Seskey, Capt. Michael Humphrise and Sgt. 1st Class Jurgen Soekhoe provided instruction on U.S. troop-leading procedures and operations orders. Despite geographical and organizational differences, they shared a common framework of tactical techniques and procedures.

The exchange’s success Feb. 16-22 extended beyond the classroom to field exercises where the Soldiers forged camaraderie.

The Jamaicans’ hospitality and professionalism were key to the exchange’s success and included cultural immersion, allowing the visiting Soldiers to experience local customs and traditions.

The participants plan to cultivate their new partnerships with future joint exercises and SMEEs to enhance interoperability and collective security in the region.

The success of Tropical Dagger 2024 serves as a testament to the power of collaboration and cooperation among like-minded nations.

The SOF SMEE was not merely a training exercise but a testament to the strength of international partnerships in fostering peace and security. As the sun set on Tropical Dagger 2024, it illuminated the path forward, where collaboration and cooperation remain the cornerstone of our collective defense.

By MAJ Matthew Dewaegeneer, District of Columbia National Guard

Army Pilots Leasing Model for Commercial Satellite Communications

Thursday, April 11th, 2024

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. — A new pilot will inform Army decisions on a lease-versus-buy business model for acquiring and delivering scalable commercial satellite communications to support unit readiness and unique missions in future large-scale combat operations.

To kick off the pilot — known as Satellite Communications (SATCOM) as a Managed Service, or SaaMS — the Army is fielding different bundled commercial equipment, bandwidth and service packages to units in several regional coverage areas around the globe.

Instead of the Army having to procure, field, sustain and modernize equipment on its own for every unit and every mission, SaaMS could enable the Army to lease these capabilities at the point of need. This business model would be scalable to expand or contract as missions change, helping to reduce on-hand inventory, satellite airtime and cost. SaaMS would ensure bandwidth is allocated at the right place and time to support data exchange in a wide variety of mission sets.

“In today’s dynamic [operational] environment, a SaaMS model could allow us to scale and adapt network connectivity seamlessly,” said Col. James Sullivan, commander, 11th Corps Signal Brigade, one of several units supporting the pilot. “We could easily increase or decrease bandwidth and services based on mission requirements, unlike fixed capacity with owned equipment. This flexibility is crucial for diverse missions across Europe, the Pacific or the Arctic.”

The Army will leverage the data and Soldier feedback from the pilot and other DOD efforts to make informed decisions on the implementation of SaaMS to meet the increasing demand for secure reliable satellite communications.

In line with the Army’s Unified Network Plan, a SaaMS model could help the service to more affordably keep up with the accelerating speed of technology advancement, while reducing, equipment obsolescence and other sustainment challenges. Solutions will be flexible and tailorable to meet the needs of specific mission sets and enable SATCOM connectivity and hardware to be surged for deployments or humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.

Sullivan added that instead of having fixed assets tied to specific locations, SaaMS could allow units to more freely allocate resources globally as needed.

“Imagine seamlessly shifting resources from a quiet Pacific base to a suddenly active European theater,” Sullivan said.

The SaaMS Pilot encompasses commercial capability in both low Earth orbit and the traditional geosynchronous Earth orbit constellations. Leveraging SaaMS’ multi-vendor, multi-orbit SATCOM capability could fuel the Army’s efforts to enhance network resiliency through transport diversity, especially in denied, degraded, intermittent and limited bandwidth environments.

The pilot also includes network connectivity to commercial teleports and internet services, and the Army is integrating the commercial capability into Global Agile Integrated Trasport network design, enabling units to tie into the unified network from anywhere in the world.

“SaaMS strengthens our primary, alternate, contingency, emergency (PACE) communications plan and network resiliency through redundancy,” said Lt Col. John “Chris” Acosta, deputy commander for the 11th CSB. “We can access diverse, geographically dispersed network providers. This could ensure communication even if specific regions face disruption.”

Further enhancing resiliency and ease of use, SaaMS allows for quicker signal rerouting and failover to alternate providers through the use of commercial auto-PACE software technology, minimizing downtime and mission impact, Acosta said.

Project Manager Tactical Network, assigned to the Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications-Tactical, manages the SaaMS Pilot for the Army and expects to complete training and fielding the regional pilot units this spring. The intent of the pilot is not to create a separate SaaMS evaluation event, but to enable operational units to use the different service and equipment sets to best suit their individual needs and roll it into their existing training events through fiscal year 2024.

During the pilot, the Army will assess varying degrees of leased end-to-end service models, with tailorable features that include satellite terminals, bandwidth capacity, security compliance, logistics and repair, said Lt. Col. Mark Scott, product manager for Unified Network Capabilities and Integration — or PdM UNCI — assigned to Project Manager Tactical Network.

“As our adversaries strive to enhance their own network capabilities, agile procurement methods will be critical to U.S. forces in retaining technological overmatch on the battlefield, and it will enable us to more rapidly refresh units with dated equipment,” Scott said. “By leveraging commercial research and development, SaaMS could enable the Army to securely integrate emerging commercial capabilities into its SATCOM fleet at a much quicker pace and at less cost, compared to procuring capability through traditional methods with lengthy acquisition cycles.”

During the pilot, the Army will assess different scenarios, such as using SaaMS to provide a stop gap for maintenance issues due to obsolescence, or to rapidly deliver the “latest and greatest” in commercial technology to an Army National Guard unit prior to a deployment, said Seth Chouinard, PdM UNCI SaaMS project lead.

“If a unit that hasn’t deployed in several years and is then called up to support a mission, SaaMS becomes the solution for rapid equipment refresh,” Chouinard said. “When their deployment mission concludes, the unit can simply return the equipment back to the industry partner.”

If fielded to a National Guard joint force headquarters, SaaMS could also allow for quicker deployment for domestic response operations, said Cpt. Sam Stout, signal officer for the Virginia Army National Guard 29th Infantry Division, another of the pilot units.

“You can pack it into the back of a truck and roll it out with pretty much any of the communications packages we have now, versus our current large trailer-mounted satellite terminal,” Stout said. “With this [more expeditionary] satellite terminal, we could set up a response cell pretty much anywhere.”

Stout also noted that the commercial equipment is also easy to use and train, aiding in the Army’s network design goal to enhance simplicity at edge so Soldiers can focus on the fight.

Alongside the pilot, the Army is accelerating the potential use of an “as a service” business model by concurrently leveraging lessons learned from other DOD efforts in the managed services realm, including those conducted by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.

Similarly, the Army is looking into the potential of leveraging a commercial “as a service” model for tactical radios as well, releasing a request for information to industry last month to gain further insight into such an effort. To further examine the pros and cons of the SaaMS model, the Army also leveraged John Hopkins University to conduct a SaaMS business case and cost analysis to aide in future lease-vs-buy decisions.

“[With SaaMS,] we can adjust the scope of technology adoption based on needs and budget, allowing us to test and evaluate new solutions before full-scale deployment,” Sullivan said. “[Additionally,] we only pay for what we use, eliminating costly unused capacity during low-intensity periods…and we eliminate the need to maintain and manage diverse communication equipment. This frees up resources for other mission-critical needs.”

By Amy Walker, Project Manager Tactical Network, PEO C3T, Public Affairs

Army Futures Command General Lays Out Continuous Transformation Plan

Tuesday, April 9th, 2024

WASHINGTON — To give Soldiers what they need to win the nation’s wars now and in the future, the Army must continuously transform and adapt to advances in technology, said Gen. James E. Rainey, commanding general of Army Futures Command.

This flexibility is needed, he said, because of how quickly the environment is evolving.

“The amount of technical disruption in the character of war is unprecedented, and it just continues to go faster and faster,” he said during a keynote presentation at the U.S. Army Global Force Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama last week. “Whatever you think you know this year, come back in 90 days, and you’ll know something different.”

To combat this changing landscape, the service is focused on transformation in three different periods: 18-24 months, two to seven years, and seven to 15 years. Work done in each period has a ripple effect on the others.

The first period is referred to as transformation in contact. This area deals with capabilities delivered to deployed warfighters for testing and analysis. They provide real-world feedback allowing the Army to make necessary adjustments for future use.

In this area, the Army can adapt to current warfighting conditions. This was used when the service noticed the value of loitering munitions, also known as suicide drones, in the war in Ukraine. Army Futures Command put in a priority-directed requirement and is in the process of buying the capability.

AFC is also working with industry partners on ground-based rockets, ground-based missiles and counter-unmanned aircraft systems that work on offense to protect light infantry and armored companies.

“The United States Army, we believe in offense and attacking,” he said. “So, there is a big opportunity to figure out how we are going to provide effective counter-UAS capabilities to units on offense.”

Human-machine integrated formations is another initiative the service is working on in the 18–24-month period. This program brings robotics and autonomous vehicles into fighting formations. The goal of the project is to keep Soldiers out of harm’s way whenever possible.

The Army tested numerous integrated formations during Project Convergence Capstone 4 in Fort Irwin, California last month.

“This is one of our major efforts inside the Army,” Rainey said. “It’s going very well and is full of opportunities to go to the next level. We’re never going to replace humans with machines, it’s about optimizing them.”

The Army will start prototyping the first integrated platoons in the next two years.

The two-to-seven-year period is known as deliberate transformation. In this time frame, the service is continuing to work on the Future Long Range Assault Aircraft, extending the range of cannon artillery, adding magazine depth and improving indirect fire weapons, engineering capabilities and the network.

Rainey said the service’s number one priority in deliberate transformation is improving the network. The service is working on a data-centric system to enable commanders to make quicker and more informed decisions.

The Future Long Range Assault Aircraft is a hot topic issue with the service’s recent aviation rebalance. Rainey assured that the Army is committed to FLRAA and the capability it brings to maneuver rifle squads.

“We don’t do attrition warfare,” he said. “We do maneuver warfare. So, FLRAA is an absolute must we have to continue to deliver, and it’s in good shape.”

Innovating in engineering battalions is another key priority for the Army, he explained.

“We’re more likely to get stopped by the terrain than by an enemy we fight and that’s not OK,” he said. “We [have got to] get after the engineering transformation and modernization.”

The Army announced the end of the Extended Range Cannon Artillery platform program last month but the requirement to extend cannon fire remains. The service recently completed a tactical fires study on artillery modernization. The research from the study showed significant success in extending the range by making adjustments to the rounds, Rainey said.

AFC is taking this knowledge and looking at ways to innovate the rounds and the propulsion systems. They are also looking to increase magazine depth to give Soldiers not just the capability but the capacity they need.

The last time frame is referred to as concept-driven transformation. This is where the Army is looking to sustain advantages, develop new capabilities and build endurance for future conflicts.

The service is working on merging offensive and defensive fire systems, adding robotics to contested logistics, bringing survivability and lethality to light infantry divisions, decreasing the weight of armored formations, and increasing its emphasis on war gaming.

This continuous transformation over all three periods is meant to make the Army more adaptable, flexible and lethal while giving Soldiers the capacity and capabilities to win now and in the future.

“Whatever we do as we transform, we have to preserve that people advantage we have,” Rainey said. “They are our greatest asset.”

By Christopher Hurd, Army News Service

Welding Individual Protective Safety Ensemble

Sunday, April 7th, 2024

Last month, members of Product Manager Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment (PdM SCIE) issued the Welding Individual Protective Safety Ensemble to Soldiers at Fort Eustis, Virginia is. The ensemble provides Soldiers with personal protective equipment to perform most welding duties in any operational environment. The equipment went into Limited User Testing and Evaluation with Allied Trade Specialists, focusing on Soldier ease of movement and functionality. Early testing included welding tasks while wearing body armor.

The Solution Sandstorm: 75th Innovation Command Crystallizes Partnerships During PC-C4

Saturday, April 6th, 2024

FORT IRWIN, Calif. — A dark, empty conference room at Fort Irwin’s National Training Center suddenly illuminates as Brig. Gen. John Stanley, deputy commanding general, 75th U.S. Army Reserve Innovation Command, enters and calls on all Soldiers wearing the 75th patch to huddle around him and his command staff.

“Project Convergence is our culminating event,” Stanley said to the handpicked Soldiers for this cutting-edge exercise. “You are the connective tissue between the Army and its DOD partners … You will add value to the Army’s Transformation Enterprise by identifying practical solutions to novel ideas that will codify future military doctrine.”

The nods from the warfighters gathered in the drab workspace silently affirmed that they were already putting Stanley’s words into practice.

In early March, approximately 40 Soldiers from the 75th USARIC joined forces with various Army commands and defense contractors in the deserts of Fort Irwin to assess and enhance emerging technologies during Project Convergence Capstone 4. This U.S. Army-hosted experiment encouraged service members from all U.S. military branches and allied nations to forge the future of warfare from the tactical to the strategic level.

“PC-C4 thrusts frontier technology into realistic scenarios that the Army might face against ever-evolving adversaries,” said Stanley, who was recently promoted in February. “The 75th USARIC helps our partners refine their systems and equipment by applying our military experience and civilian expertise.”

The 75th USARIC stands out among other Army Reserve commands through its unique mission set that demands highly skilled Soldiers who are leaders in their area of expertise. As part of the Army’s Transformation Enterprise, the 75th USARIC provides specialized capabilities to solve the Army’s toughest problems. Its ranks comprise seasoned professionals specializing in robotics, biotechnology, project management, cyber security, machine learning, and other advanced fields. Divided into two groups and 16 detachments, this two-star command has approximately 500 Soldiers, with many currently working for Fortune 500 companies at the management or executive level. Some are founders of their own tech start-up firms. About one out of five Soldiers in the 75th USARIC has a doctorate, with many more holding master’s degrees and IT certifications.

“Members of the 75th readily translate complex discussions among scientists, engineers and Soldiers on the ground,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Miller, innovation officer with Support Group, 75th USARIC. “We assess network issues and technical challenges in the design phase, then integrate solutions to help teams better perform in the execution phase.”

In his civilian capacity, Miller has served as a project manager at one of the world’s leading companies in software, hardware and cloud services. His corporate background helped secure a leading role in 75th’s partnership with the Army Research Laboratory’s Deep Autonomous Reconnaissance & Targeting Sensing program. DARTS integrates sensing and automation technology to produce accurate target information. Miller and several 75th USARIC Soldiers collaborated alongside the DARTS development team throughout PC-C4 to see firsthand how the system would perform in a simulated, battlefield scenario.

“Having the 75th at PC-C4 to support this program is incredibly beneficial,” said Jeffrey Houser, lead research scientist DARTS. “Army Research Laboratory has many scientists and engineers who are very good at creating cutting-edge technology for our troops. However, we sometimes struggle with communicating to our end users how to take full advantage of these advanced systems. The 75th Soldiers here not only speak the language of those in Army operations, but they also ask questions and make recommendations that my team wouldn’t have otherwise considered.”

These inquisitive innovators expanded their services to Future Vertical Lift, a key priority in the Army Transformational Enterprise. The FVL Cross Functional Team aims to modernize Army aviation by improving speed, range and coordination to take decisive action in various operational environments. Programs that fall under FVL-CFT’s scope include advanced rotorcraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and even autonomous helicopters.

A pair of 75th USARIC Soldiers from the Command’s Huntsville detachment proactively inserted themselves with the design team for the K1000ULE, an ultra-long endurance unmanned aerial system led by Kraus Hamdani Aerospace.

“The first and maybe most important step we took during Project Convergence was to develop close relationships through face-to-face conversations,” said 1st Lt. Omega Marks, innovation officer, 75th USARIC. “By joining these technical discussions, we gained a deeper understanding of the [K1000ULE] contributions to Future Vertical Lift, and we proved to the [Kraus Hamdani] Aerospace team that the 75th can enhance the K1000ULE’s capabilities by identifying potential issues and offering viable solutions.”

Marks, who also serves as a cyber security assessor for a company contracted by the U.S. State Department, joined her enlisted counterpart, Staff Sgt. Christopher Wright, noncommissioned officer-in-charge, Huntsville Detachment, 75th USARIC, to help enhance the K1000ULE’s capabilities.

“Many of the 11 distinct types of technology we saw [at PC-C4] greatly benefited from a thorough analysis of potential cyber threats,” said Wright, who works as a senior security engineer for a Fortune 100 company. Our inclusion in matters of surveillance, networking and electronic countermeasures addressed issues that could compromise performance or, worse, enable our adversaries to exploit our technology against us.”

While most 75th USARIC Soldiers at Fort Irwin stormed PC-C4 with innovative solutions at the tactical, operational and strategic level, one fostered a climate of transformation along the spiritual plane.

The 75th USARIC’s command chaplain, Col. (Chaplain) Ken Harris initially came to Fort Irwin to provide religious support for fellow 75th Soldiers. His invitation to attend the garrison’s chapel services, seek guidance through prayer or request spiritual counseling captured attracted both service members and civilians hailing from France, Japan, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

“I was blessed to pray alongside Soldiers from allied nations for their work in protecting freedom – including freedom of religion – around the world,” said Harris, a Lutheran pastor and an associate for a Fortune 500 financial services company. “Peace can be made through strength. Strength can be enhanced by interoperability of advanced technology … Peace through strength is also forged through enhancing relationships with our brothers- and sisters-in-arms.”

Stanley and the command team believe that cultivating these relationships will redefine the 75th USARIC’s role in ensuring the Army dominates every battlespace against any adversary.

“The 75th earned its place at Project Convergence by identifying solutions that improve processes across multiple domains,” said Stanley. “Who we engage and how we help them accomplish their objectives at PC-C4 will pave the way for future 75th USARIC missions that will deliver Army of 2030 and design the Army of 2040.”

By SFC John Carkeet

Retired Army Ranger Receives the Silver Star Medal

Friday, April 5th, 2024

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. — Almost 31 years after conducting various missions and operations during the Battle of Mogadishu, retired Army Maj. Larry Moores received the third highest military decoration for valor in combat — the Silver Star Medal.

Gen. Gary Brito, commanding general, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, presented Moores with the Silver Star during a ceremony in front of family and friends March 25.

“Mr. Moores, I personally salute you for your tenacity, your toughness in a crucible combat, and your commitment to our Army, and your fellow Soldiers,” Brito said. “Your actions in Somalia were for them, your brothers in arms, and are a living tribute to the Ranger Creed, which I know that you hold dearly. Thank you so much for your selfless service. I am honored to present to you today the Silver Star.”

Moores enlisted in the U.S. Army on his 18th birthday. After basic training, he was assigned to the 1st Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger for his first assignment. Within a few months, he was ready to accept the Ranger School test and headed straight to the school at Fort Benning, Ga., now called Fort Moore.

“Ranger School was very difficult and definitely a great challenge, but I think coming from the battalion to become a ranger student was more of a validation process,” he said. “I was in the first class after the invasion of Grenada, so I was a young Soldier who had already been in a combat experience in the early 1980s.”

In the summer of 1993, then-President Bill Clinton deployed Task Force Ranger comprised of Rangers, Special Operators and TF-160 Special Operations Aviators to Mogadishu, Somalia, to capture Somali warlord Mohammed Farah-Adid. The majority of that task force was composed of American Rangers from the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment.

“When I was in Somalia as part of Task Force Ranger, it was my third tour with the unit, so I understood their capabilities and how prepared we were to execute the mission,” Moores said. “We conducted a series of missions before that, so we knew the environment and the threat. Knowing how well trained your people were and the mission made it easier to lead.”

On Oct. 3, 1993, Task Force Ranger became embroiled with Somalia militiamen in an overnight gun battle, the intensity of which was likened, at the time, to the most intense firefights in Vietnam. That afternoon, Task Force Ranger boarded Army helicopters for what was expected to be a textbook raid to capture two of Adid’s lieutenants.

Using rocket-propelled grenades, Somalia militiamen shot down two U.S. Blackhawk helicopters, turning a planned raid into an unexpected rescue mission.

Although this particular battle was very challenging for Moores, and the 75th Ranger Regiment unit, due to the number of Soldiers who were killed or were wounded, Moores said it was astonishing to be able to demonstrate their capability during that operation.

“We lost 18 [Soldiers] in battle and had more than 70 Rangers wounded. That was a tough experience because we were overwhelmed — with the odds against us. But it was amazing to watch the young Rangers still execute under very difficult circumstances,” he said.

Moores hard work and leadership during that operation resulted in him being inducted as a Distinguished Member of the 75th Ranger Regiment in 2005 and into the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame in 2017.

“I was honored to serve with the Rangers, so whenever I went to those ceremonies as a young Soldier, I was always in awe of the people who were being inducted,” he said. “Then to be inducted myself was an amazing honor. But for me it was a team effort. It wasn’t Larry who was inducted, it was the whole unit.”

Retired Army Col. Larry Perino, a fellow Ranger platoon leader who served with Moores during the Battle of Mogadishu, attended the Silver Star ceremony, and emphasized how important it was for him to be there to witness it.

“I would not have missed this event for the world. This is long overdue and well deserved,” Perino said. “Larry is deserving because he chose to go back to that street to try and break us out. Despite going out there and getting riddled with bullets time and time again and losing Rangers, he had the intestinal fortitude to lead his men to help us.”

Moores credits the entire regiment for him being able to receive the honor of the Silver Star Medal.

“This Silver Star Medal is about those types of units and all of the months and months of hard work,” he said. “It was an amazing opportunity to be a part of those special operations. I feel so blessed to have worked with the people that I did over all of these years. I never would have thought that I would have been able to do all of the things that I did, and meet and work with so many amazing people along the way.”

Moores currently works as a contractor within the TRADOC G2 (Intelligence).

By Katisha Draughn-Fraguada, TRADOC Communication Directorate

Airborne Troops Drop Test New Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles

Thursday, April 4th, 2024

FORT LIBERTY, North Carolina – Airborne logistics Soldiers here just completed airdrop testing of the Army’s newest Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles.

Troops of the 151st Quartermaster Company, 189th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division Sustainment Brigade, put the vehicles through a series of Low Velocity Airdrop configurations.

The M1093A2 FMTV is a fleet of vehicles set to modernize the Army’s capabilities with its advanced design, compared to its aging predecessor, the Light Medium Tactical Vehicle.

Assistant Program Manager Mr. Tom McDaniels, U.S. Army Program Executive Office, Combat Support & Combat Service Support, emphasized the strategic importance of the M1093A2 FMTV.

“This Army program delivers an airdrop-capable vehicle that excels in multiple mission roles, offering protected, sustained, and networked mobility for personnel and payloads in a wide range of military operations,” he said.

The series of tests at Fort Liberty kicked off with comprehensive Operator’s Training (OT) and New Equipment Training (NET) delivered by expert trainers from Oshkosh, the vehicle manufacturer.

The training ensured the paratroopers were fully equipped with the knowledge and skills to operate and maintain the vehicle throughout the airborne testing phase.

Staff Sgt. Shahbaz Shakil Ahmed, a motor transport operator from the 151st Quartermaster Company, explained the rigorous testing process as the Soldiers demonstrated exceptional skill and precision by successfully rigging, airdropping, and recovering the FMTV, followed by thorough rigorous road tests to validate its operational readiness and full mission capability.

He said he was eager to transition to the new FMTVs, highlighting the significant improvements in survivability, payload capability, and his pride in contributing to the vehicle’s airdrop rigging development.

The testing agenda included low-velocity airdrops and subsequent road tests to assess the vehicle’s maximum load capacity, all critical steps towards achieving final airdrop certification from the Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Command.

Sgt. 1st Class. Dao Le, a project NCO with ABNSOTD’s Aerial Delivery Rigging Branch, said the testing process is meticulous.

“Every piece of equipment Soldiers use has been independently tested and evaluated to meet current and future Army needs and requirements,” he said.

Mr. Aaron Clark, a military test plans analyst with ABNSOTD involved in Low Velocity Airdrop FMTV testing, captured the essence of the effort.

“Operational testing is about Soldiers,” he said. “It’s about ensuring the systems we develop are effective in a Soldier’s hands and suitable for the environments in which Soldiers train and fight.”

The airdrop missions were executed using U.S. Air Force C-17 and C-130 aircraft, which reflect a significant advancement in military logistics and capability, setting a new standard for operational excellence and readiness, according to Clark.

“Operational testing is OTC’s opportunity to contribute to readiness; anything less compromises the Army’s ability to provide the forces that fight and win the nation’s wars,” Clark added.

Mr. Bill Slaven, branch chief of ABNSOTD’s Test Division, shed light on integration of systems under examination into actual missions and training agendas of test units.

“Unit commanders get an early opportunity to evaluate new systems, potentially influencing modifications in operational tactics and military doctrine,” he said.

“The unique aspect of these tests is that they are led by the units themselves, ensuring a seamless melding of control within authentic operational environment scenarios.”

According to Maj. Joshua Cook, chief of the ABNSOTD’s Test Division, every piece of equipment Soldiers use has been independently tested and evaluated to meet current and future Army needs and requirements.

“We test and assess Army, Joint, and Multi-service airborne and airdrop-related warfighting systems in realistic operational environments by using Soldiers to determine whether the systems are effective, suitable, and survivable,” he said.

“The commitment to testing and assessing equipment aims to ascertain their effectiveness, suitability, and survivability.”

By Mr. James Cochran and Mr. Aaron Clark, Military Test Plans Analysts, Airborne and Special Operations Test Directorate, U.S. Army Operational Test Command Public Affairs