FORT BENNING, Ga. (May 23, 2012) -- The Maneuver Battle Lab is wrapping up the second phase of the Ground Combat Vehicle Non Developmental Vehicle assessments, which has Soldiers from Fort Benning's experimentation force conducting platoon-level operations on five different platforms.

The weeklong evaluation at Fort Bliss, Texas, is set to end Thursday.

"This is not a vehicle-to-vehicle comparison. We're assessing the attributes of all five vehicles as they pertain to what we'd like to see in our future ground combat vehicle," said Tony Carbone, the Maneuver Battle Lab's GCVassessment's lead analyst. "A desired end state of this is to report some qualitative Soldier feedback. This will give us a true feel for how combat veterans see the different capabilities of these vehicles."

About 75 personnel from Fort Benning have roles in the assessment, including more than 50 Soldiers from A Company, 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, 197th Infantry Brigade, the post's EXFOR. Collectively, the experimentation force completed nearly 70 combat tours representing almost 700 months in Iraq and Afghanistan, so war-zone lessons learned are a critical piece of this effort, Carbone said.

"Over the past 12 months, the Maneuver Battle Lab has coordinated the efforts of 14 organizations, conducting assessments on three continents, to ensure the Army gets its GCV requirements right," said Harry Lubin, chief of the battle lab's live experimentation division. "These operational insights -- provided by the battle lab and our EXFOR -- are key to the Army's modernization program."

The vehicle platforms being assessed during the evaluations at Fort Bliss are: M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, Turret-less Bradley, Double V-Hull Stryker, Swedish, CV9035 vehicle and the Israeli Namer.

At Fort Bliss, the Soldiers have been engaged in multiple day and night operations with the five vehicles across open desert and urban terrain in dynamic, demanding scenarios, said Darrell Barden, the Maneuver Battle Lab's mounted team chief, who was in Texas for the assessment's preparations and launch. Each vehicle is being evaluated for durability, capacity, modularity, lethality, interior space and operational capability.

He said the Maneuver Battle Lab is leading the Fort Bliss session, which will be instrumental in informing Army leaders about eventual requirements for a new Infantry fighting vehicle to ensure mission success. The Fort Benning organization is a driving force behind the Maneuver Center of Excellence's "Squad: Foundation of the Decisive Force" initiative.

"The Army will use this assessment to determine what characteristics and capabilities best define what we want to see in a future Infantry fighting vehicle," Barden said.

The M2A3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle currently used by the Army carries a maximum of seven Infantry Soldiers. Carbone said the new vehicle must carry nine fully equipped Infantrymen and three crewmembers.

"That's one of the key capabilities we need," he said. "It's of extreme importance to get a vehicle that can carry an entire Infantry squad to be able to conduct our future missions. We can maintain squad integrity, better protect Soldiers and give them the lethality necessary to perform the mission in their future operational environment."

Carbone said the assessment's first stage unfolded in Israel this past winter, when the experimentation force took part in a month-long assessment of the Israeli Namer. That marked the first time a Maneuver Battle Lab assessment was conducted on foreign soil. In March, the Soldiers were in Denmark working with the Swedish CV9035 vehicle, he said.

Page last updated Thu May 24th, 2012 at 11:18