Watchdog MRAPs made safer by REF
March 8, 2009
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - Light-wheeled vehicle mechanic Soldiers from the 8th Military Police "Watchdog" Brigade, Multi-National Division-Baghdad, received hands-on training from the Army's Rapid Equipping Force for properly installing dual-wire mitigation kits on the brigade's Mine Resistant Ambush Protected armored vehicle fleet Feb. 24.
The height of the vehicle, with current antennae configuration, subjects the vehicle to low hanging wire strikes and presents a hazard to its occupants, therefore, requiring an immediate solution for the safety of Soldiers.
"We can do a prototype kit and a stopgap measure until other kits come into theater, to help out the immediate need," said Bret Zemach, lead field engineer, with REF. "The REF can get solutions to Soldiers extremely quickly that can't be met by the Army's standard acquisition system and then will transition it into the standard acquisition system, but a lot of times these ideas come from Soldiers."
"I hope to provide safer means of vehicle operations to Soldiers by mitigating any and all possibilities of electrocution," Chief Warrant Officer James Townsend, the 8th MP Bde. maintenance officer and a native of Fayetteville, N.C., said.
The 8th MP Watchdogs received 72 of the kits for dissemination throughout their brigade.
The low-cost kits consist of four fiberglass poles and two mounting brackets. Installing of kits requires no modification to the MRAP's integrity and uses existing holes and bolts for bracket mount installation.
Townsend said he expects to conduct one class per week until all of the brigade subordinate units have qualified personnel to complete the dual-wire mitigation kit installation on their own vehicles.
"Even with the wire mitigation kits installed, it's important to remain vigilant while negotiating low-hanging power lines."