Mission complete: Vehicles upgraded for survivability
July 18, 2013
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan - The 401st Army Field Support Brigade, along with the Joint Program Office, completed their goal of equipping more than 1,100 MaxxPro Dash ISS equipped vehicles in Afghanistan with the MaxxPro Survivability Upgrade.
The MaxxPro Dash is an up-armored vehicle that is designed to withstand, ballistic arms fire, mine blasts and roadside bombs, and it is widely used by U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan.
"The MaxxPro Survivability Upgrade, or MSU, was an effort to increase the survivability of the MaxxPro vehicle and it did exponentially," said Lt. Col. Elliott Caggins, project manager for JPO Mine Resistant Ambush Protected - Operation Enduring Freedom.
"It increases the underbody blast protection performance and that is a 75 percent upgrade survivability," said Maj. Ken Hoisington, 401st AFSB Support Operations officer in charge.
The mission began in the fall of 2012, and their goal was set to complete 1,100 upgrades by June 30, 2013.
"The best estimates were that we'd get 900 done, but we surged and worked together with the 401st and the whole JPO MRAP enterprise and we got it done ahead of schedule," said Caggins, a Louisville, Ky., native.
"The first thing we did when they came up with the mission, was identify which MaxxPro's were eligible to receive the MSU upgrades," said Lt. Col. James Davis, Logistics Task Force officer in charge, 401st AFSB-Bagram.
Some of the MaxxPro's in Afghanistan were not eligible for the upgrade.
"We have several thousand MaxxPro vehicles in theater and since they've arrived, they've received periodic updates," said Davis. "Certain ones had received a suspension update. Those were the ones that were eligible for the MaxxPro survivability upgrade that they recently received."
The upgrade included an energy displacement frame rail, transmission restraint, new seats, cab support beams and a new rear floor.
Upgraded vehicles were swapped on a one for one basis or given to U.S. and coalition forces who had an operational need for the vehicles.
Six total sites were involved in the program: Bagram Air Field, Kandahar Airfield, Forward Operating Base Shank, FOB Sharana, FOB Fenty and FOB Salerno.
Units would convoy, if needed, to the locations and perform the swap.
"Once they turned in their MaxxPro's that they were swapping with us, they left with fully upgraded MaxxPro's." said Davis, a Baton Rouge, La., native. "It had just gone through maintenance. It was fully mission capable."
More than 2,700 personnel in Afghanistan were involved including U.S. service members, civilians and contractors.
"It's exciting," said Hoisington. "We're here in this austere environment making things like this happen. Would we be able to do this 15 years ago? Potentially not."
Maj. Gen. James Richardson, Deputy Commanding General-Joint Operational Corps Headquarters-Afghanistan, visited and gave his appreciation to the Soldiers, civilians and contractors who worked for the program at Bagram Air Field, July 1.
"I feel proud to be a member of the team," said Caggins. "I feel like we are doing something beneficial to protect lives and save lives."