The U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command's Integrated Logistics Support Center is stepping up its efforts to overhaul all M113 Armored Personnel Carriers and Bradley Fighting Vehicles in the Opposing-Forces Surrogate Vehicle Program.
In 2016, the Chief of Staff of the Army's office voiced concern for the OSVs and how they impacted training.
"The biggest impact of the overhaul program is improved readiness," said Justin King, supervisor of the OSV/AMPV (Armored Multipurpose Vehicle) section in the ILSC. "The vehicles have an extremely high operational tempo and had not had any major attention in years and readiness was suffering as a result," he said.
The vehicles currently in the program replaced the M60 Patton tank and M551 Sheridan tank which were harder to upkeep due to lack of parts and obsolete systems.
"The vehicles needed a number of redesigns to address these obsolescence issues and known systemic design issues driving causing failures," said King. "One major redesign was the Thermal Sight Unit, which addressed the OSV's ability to stay competitive and more accurately simulate a foreign force.
According to the OSV Program Project Lead, Oleg Rybchenko, the 335 vehicles in the OSV program undergo constant use year-round at these training centers and have four to five times more wear and tear than their battlefield-ready counterparts.
"There is a new emphasis on these systems because they are 20-years old," said Rybchenko, "They are running the entire fleet through the overhaul program to rejuvenate them and make them last a little bit longer."
The vehicles currently in the program have been fielded since the early 2000's and need this crucial overhaul to maintain their near-peer capabilities to provide realistic training, according to Rybchenko. "We're improving their survivability and durability," he said.
All the vehicles are operational but are unable to fire live rounds. They are fitted with a form of Miles Gear, which is a system of lasers and sensors that allows them to simulate combat.
"They play a giant game of laser tag in a full-scale training engagement that trains our Soldiers, Rybchenko said, "That's important because without training you can have the best equipment in the world and still fail."
"Training is very important, that is how our men and women come back alive, because of the training they receive and how they react," he said.
Anniston Army Depot in Alabama is conducting the overhaul of the OSVs. They have overhauled a total of 111 since the CSAs office initiated the improvement plan, including 75 Seventy-five in fiscal year 2019.
About Tank-automotive and Armaments Command:
TACOM manages the Army's ground equipment supply chain, which constitutes about 60 percent of the Army's total equipment. If a Soldier drives it, shoots it, wears it or eats it, TACOM sustains it.
TACOM's Integrated Logistics Support Center executes repair parts planning and supply chain management for more than 3,500 weapon systems. These systems form the core of America's ground combat capability. When the force needs critical components delivered, whether at home or abroad, it depends on TACOM.
TACOM oversees six of the Army's manufacturing arsenals and maintenance depots across the United States, which are part of the Army's Organic Industrial Base. The industrial artisans from the Army's OIB deliver when the Army needs equipment manufactured, repaired, upgraded or modernized.
TACOM's workforce includes highly skilled and uniquely qualified professionals, from engineers and industrial artisans to senior logisticians and business analysts. The largely civilian workforce is critical to supporting Army readiness around the world.
The Detroit Arsenal, home to TACOM headquarters, is the only active-duty U.S. Army installation in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Detroit Arsenal and its Michigan-based workforce of more than 6000 people contribute billions of dollars in economic impact to the region's economy each year.