WASHINGTON— Timothy Goddette, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition Policy and Logistics, and Michael Cadieux, Director, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Ground Vehicle Systems Center, presented testimony on the Army’s tactical wheeled vehicles (TWVs), modernization of the vehicle fleet, and the status of the industrial base to the House Armed Services Committee Tactical Air and Land Subcommittee via video teleconference today.
Goddette most recently served as the Program Executive Officer, Combat Support and Combat Service Support, the organization responsible for acquisition of the Army’s tactical vehicles, a post he held from early 2018 until May 4.
In his opening statement, he said the Army’s current TWV fleet consists of a portfolio of more than 200,000 light, medium, and heavy trucks. Goddette then outlined the Army’s TWV fleet priorities, chief among them, the Family of Joint Light Tactical Vehicles. He explained the Army will continue to have a mixed light tactical fleet, including roughly the same number of High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles, after all JLTVs are fielded.
The Army’s next TWV priority, Goddette said, is to maintain a warm production base for the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles, as well as for the Heavy Tactical Vehicle fleet. He noted the medium and heavy fleets have met their respective Acquisition Objective and are currently between 65-70 percent modernized.
“FMTV will focus on meeting Low Velocity Airdrop capability in our Airborne community, and the HTV fleet will continue recapitalize the oldest heavy trucks that are approaching or exceeding their Economic Useful Life through 2023,” Goddette said. He highlighted the Army is exploring replacing the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck, the Palletized Load System, and the M915 and M1088 Tractors with the Common Tactical Truck, which would “be a commercial-based truck designed with a modular truck platform.” He noted this best-of-breed approach has the potential to ‘shift the cost curve’ -- saving 15 to 30 percent.
Relative to introducing electric vehicles into the Army’s TWV fleet, Goddette said, “We see the Light Reconnaissance mission in our Scout units as a possible early opportunity to enter the Electric Vehicle, or ‘EV,’ market by leveraging the development and maturity of the commercial industry to field an initial capability.”
In acquiring these new capabilities, he said an area of particular challenge to fielding a full EV fleet on the battlefield is the weight of batteries and the lack of a mobile recharging capability. As a result, Goddette maintains the initial EV solution is likely to be a hybrid drive due to range requirements and payload.
“However, the Army will continue to pursue partial electrification solutions, such as anti-idle technology, powertrain modernization, and the ability to off-board power to reduce the need for tactical generators,” Goddette emphasized.
In an oral statement to the subcommittee, Cadieux described the efforts to electrify tactical wheeled vehicles, developing and integrating technologies to expand the electrical power capabilities on these platforms and putting that power to strategic use.
“Electrification-related technologies will mature and apply differently across the spectrum of light, medium, and heavy tactical wheeled vehicles,” said Cadieux. “Across this spectrum, electrification has the potential to provide the ability to operate at longer distances without refueling, extended silent watch and silent mobility through reduced acoustic and thermal signatures and improved dash speeds, additional on-board electrical power and energy storage required for advanced sensors, integrated tactical network, and other future mission payloads, and exportable power generation and distribution.”
Recently, the Army has grown its presence in the electric vehicle space, including the development of the Chevrolet Colorado ZH2, a fuel cell vehicle developed from an agreement between General Motors and GVSC, and General Motors’ demonstration of the all-electric prototype Infantry Squad Vehicle.
Cadieux emphasized the technology maturation and development necessary, however, to bridge the gap from commercial use to military-ready.
“In assessing the operational usability by the military of commercially-available solutions in various hybrid, hybrid plug-in and all-electric vehicles we recognize two significant challenges: The need for a mobile and deployable re-charging infrastructure, and greater battery energy density and endurance,” said Cadieux.
Between them, Cadieux and Goddette represent, respectively, the tactical ground vehicle technology development and acquisition communities that are critical to the Army’s modernization efforts. Alongside the Army’s requirements writers, they work to understand the current and future state of vehicle technology, the operational needs of the Army’s tactical vehicles, and how to procure the right materiel from the right vendors to meet those needs.
The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center serves as the ground vehicle technology laboratory and engineering center of excellence within the Army Futures Command’s modernization enterprise, providing leading-edge capabilities to a professional force.
The U.S. Army Program Executive Office, Combat Support and Combat Service Support, headquartered at the historic Detroit Arsenal, is responsible for managing the lifecycle of nearly 20 percent of the Army’s total equipment programs. Its acquisition professional are the Army’s Commercial-Off-The-Shelf and Non-Developmental Item acquisition experts. The equipment they manage span the Army’s Engineer, Ordnance, Quartermaster, and Transportation portfolios.