DUGWAY PROVING GROUND, Utah -- The Army's Stryker Nuclear, Biological, Chemical, Reconnaissance Vehicle sits on a dusty road at Dugway Proving Ground's Target S grid being readied by its crew for testing, caged in a menacing looking metal grid with intricate sensory equipment attached to all sides.
While the Stryker comes in several variants in service to the Army (e.g., Medical Evacuation, Anti-Tank Guided Missile, Fire Support, Reconnaissance, Mortar Carrier and Mobile Gun System), on this particular day, the NBCRV is having its day in the warm Dugway sun.
Technicians worked deftly in and around the complex looking vehicle as they prepared to field test the new Joint Chemical Agent Detector system during the Chemical Test Division's JCAD On-The-Move test event.
With instrumentation and vehicle checks complete, the large, multi-wheeled NBCRV rolled down the dusty trail to the first staging area to begin the testing scenario.
The JCAD will be integrated with the Stryker vehicle as a replacement for the Automatic Chemical Agent Detection Alarm, which will no longer be manufactured for and fielded by the Army.
"We started the JCAD integration with the Stryker vehicles about a year and a half ago," stated Charlie Walker, Test Officer for Dugway Proving Ground's Chemical Test Branch. "The first test we did was at the Joint Ambient Breeze Tunnel last fall and that was to test the integration of the JCAD onto the vehicles, to determine whether the housing that was being used had any type of deleterious effect on the JCAD's ability to detect a chemical agent or a simulant for a chemical agent."
Walker elaborated on some of the challenges of preparing for the second phase of the testing which took place in mid-July of this year. "Probably the biggest problem that we
had was setting up our own network," he said, noting that within a short period of time, they configured their own test network that included wireless capabilities, GPS capabilities, and established referee equipment as well.
"The development of this network was all Dugway-centric. We came up with the idea on how to do it, and what equipment we were going to use, and how it was going to work. That was all put together within three months," he stated.
Walker emphasized the significance of conducting this particular test at Dugway and not at another location.
"I think the reason the PM came here is because we have the perfect capabilities with the test grid, outdoor testing, and there's a lot of history that exists here with testing the Stryker vehicle," he said.
"Operational Test Command has been here in the past to test the Stryker," he continued. "They did testing here with the ACADA, and they just felt it was a natural fit to come here again and test it with the JCAD."
Walker credited the tremendous success of the Stryker JCAD On-The-Move testing to the professionalism of the Dugway staff and their preparation.
"I think the testing that we did here, particularly on the JCAD On-The-Move Test, was a real success in that all the trials we had planned on doing, we were able to accomplish within the first night of testing," he stated.
"We had a plethora of customers and VIPs here, and a number of them said that they had been out to Dugway numerous times, for various field testing, and they'd never seen a test where all the trials were completed successfully the first night. They were all very impressed with that."
He went on to say that they were particularly impressed with the condensed time frame given from set-up to successful execution of the trials.
"The way this test will benefit the warfighter is the JCAD is a much more sensitive and accurate chemical detector than the ACADA," Walker said. "It will provide them with better sensitivity and functionality and be able to identify specific threats in the field."