By Mrs. Jennifer Bacchus (AMC)October 10, 2017
ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- From 1,000 meters away, they look a lot like Russian combat vehicles. Yet, they are all-American and have recently been spotted moving throughout the shops of Anniston Army Depot.
ANAD is completing overhaul of 14 M113A3/BMP-2 Opposing Forces Surrogate Vehicles, also known as OSVs, as well as two of their counterpart M113A3/MBT Main Battle Tanks.
The vehicles are destined for the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif. There, the vehicles simulate the capabilities of armored fighting vehicles during exercises.
The OSV and MBT overhauls, originally scheduled for earlier in the year, were shifted due to unplanned, high priority workload. Yet the programs should be completed by their requested delivery date, thanks to oversight of the project as well as the cooperation and coordination of several shops.
"Our employees stepped up," said Greg Johnson, a heavy mobile equipment mechanic supervisor for the M113 family of vehicles. "They tightened their belts and got the work done."
That work includes the disassembly process -- taking the vehicle down to its bare hull -- reclaiming and installing components which can be reutilized when brought back to specifications, installing the needed new parts and testing the newly assembled vehicle to ensure it meets the Army's rigorous standards.
The overhaul process was completed rapidly, thanks to coordination between the various buildings.
As one shop completed work on a vehicle, employees would call the next shop in line to coordinate movement of the vehicles.
"The vehicles never stayed parked for long," said Lavon Stephens, the division chief for Tracked Systems.
Two work areas -- the depot's Turret Shop and one section of the Combat Vehicle Repair Facility -- went on a 24-hour schedule to ensure the OSV production continued while employees fulfilled other depot requirements.
"My night shift carried the slack to keep programs on schedule," said Brian Norman, a heavy mobile equipment mechanic supervisor for turret systems.
Still, quality was key throughout every phase of the program as inspectors worked long hours alongside the mechanics.
"Even though we pushed the vehicles out quickly, we don't push things out if they aren't right," said Johnson.
According to the OSV's training manual, the vehicle is a modified version of the M113A3 Family of Vehicles using a modified turret from a M2A2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle. Modifications include the addition of visual modifications, which make the vehicle similar in appearance to a Russian Boyevaya Mashina Pekhoty, better known as a BMP-2.
Likewise, the M113A3/MBT is used to simulate the weapons capability, via tactical engagement simulation, of a Russian T-72/T-90 Tank.
Initial development of the vehicles began in 1994 with production following in 1996. Following testing of the first vehicle, production moved from Red River Army Depot to ANAD as a result of the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure commission.
Since 2005, ANAD has overhauled 160 OSVs and two MBTs.