CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait -- The first two newly rebuilt Heavy Equipment Transport trucks equipped with C-kit belly-plate armor, or "golden HETs," arrived at Shuaiba Port in Kuwait, Sept. 11.
They are part of a large-scale reset effort for more than 50 golden HETs slated to be restored at Red River Army Depot, led by the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, 1st Theater Sustainment Command, and the 401st Army Field Support Brigade.
"There is nothing more important at TACOM than providing capable and ready equipment to our warfighters," said Steven Shotwell, TACOM senior command representative assigned to the 401st AFSB.
The first two HETs arrived in Kuwait only six months after U.S. Army Materiel Command approved the HET reset effort in March, 2018.
"It is very evident, the extraordinary teamwork and coordination between 1st TSC, 401st AFSB and TACOM on this effort," Shotwell said. "We got off to a great start by getting all the team, stakeholders and shareholders, involved from the beginning. So the total requirements were identified early in the process which provided TACOM and Red River Army Depot with the information needed to quickly plan, implement, and get quality equipment back into the unit's hands in real time."
Maintenance experts assigned to the 1st TSC and Combat Sustainment Support Battalion identified low operational readiness rates of about 50 percent for the up-armored HETs in 2017.
The low operational readiness rates were caused by more than 1 million miles of usage, which is well above any other HETs that maintainers could compare against in the Army, said Chief Warrant Officer 5 Steven Dewey, materiel management branch chief, 1st TSC.
"Maintainers were struggling to repair one thing and then another thing would break. No other C-kit armor is available in the supply system or at any of the factories," Dewey said. "They can't just buy these off the shelf. The trucks around them were falling apart.
"It was worth it for the enterprise to rebuild and repair -- down to the frame -- to salvage the belly-plate armor that will provide additional protection for the end user."
The trucks were completely rebuilt around the C-Kit armor with new engines, new transmissions, new wiring harnesses, and new armor inside the systems.
"As I took a look at the data, the maintenance cost far exceeded the reset cost," Dewey said. "So it made good business sense to reset the equipment and get [the Soldiers] some like-new platforms out to the field so they can do their mission reliably."
The two recently-arrived HETs were issued to the 154th Composite Truck Co.-Heavy, 524th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, after the unit conducted a joint inspection with TACOM Logistics Assistance Representatives, Sept. 14.
"Now that the Soldiers have these newly rebuilt HETs they're far better off with more reliable equipment," Dewey said. "These vehicles will be better for the Soldier, better for the mission, and definitely better for the Army."
The new HETs carry a 12-month warranty from Red River Army Depot that covers faulty components. It does not cover regular wear and tear due to normal usage or user negligence.
Confidence in the quality of the equipment is high, said Shotwell.
"Over the years I have seen a lot of different types of TACOM equipment that has been repaired out of RRAD and issued to units," Shotwell said. "Overall the quality of their products has been excellent. We do strive for perfection and at TACOM we are dedicated to providing our Soldiers the safest, most reliable, and most powerful equipment."