ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service, Nov. 19, 2010) -- The U.S. Army is vigorously conducting reliability, durability and performance testing of its new Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., and Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., as part of an effort to add thousands of new trucks to the fleet, service officials said.
The Army plans to build and deliver at least 10,000 new FMTVs as part of its requirements contract with Oshkosh Defense signed last August.
"Testing is going very well. The process involves 20,000 miles of reliability and durability testing - plus performance testing which is everything from [performance on] slopes to speed, endurance and payload capability," said Lt. Col. Shane Fullmer, the Army's product manager for medium tactical vehicles.
"Given what we've seen to date, we are in good shape to easily meet our reliability requirements," Fullmer said.
Additionally, performance testing and live-fire blast testing place the trucks in a range of different combat-relevant scenarios, he said.
"We have to demonstrate a fording capability, a capability to put the truck up-hill with certain grades with certain payloads," said Mike Ivy, vice president and general manager for Army programs, Oshkosh Defense.
"If it is a tractor, it has to demonstrate a pull capability," Ivy said. "There are 17 different variants to the truck and each variant has different performance requirements, and so they test those trucks against those requirements."
Testing is expected to conclude in the spring of 2011.
The new trucks are being built in accordance with the Army's Technical Data Package, specifications that include modular, replaceable armor and a built-in ring mount to place a weapon and gunners' protective kit on the roof of the cab, Fullmer said.
The modular armor approach means that the truck's cab is built with a small amount of built-on integrated armor designed with the ability to accept bolt-on armor plates to improve protection as missions dictate.
"You can take out the windows and put in new transparent armor, and you can put on armor panels that protect the truck from direct fire and IEDs," said Fullmer. "That is the truck that goes into the war zone. When you are done you can take the armor off for use in peacetime operations. We have more than 1,000 of those trucks in theater already."
The TDP, along with the forces of a full and open competition, allowed the Army to achieve significant savings.
The Army is essentially getting the same truck with the same performance at a reduced price, Fullmer said.
"The FMTV design is already protecting Soldiers in Afghanistan, and we are continuing to provide trucks to Soldiers in theater with the protection needed in combat and the performance capabilities needed during peacetime operations," said Fullmer.
At this time there are no specific plans for further improvements to the FMTV, but the program continues to review the state of current technology.
"As technology becomes available that is low-risk and is an improvement, we will look at incorporating that into our truck over time," added Fullmer.
The Product Manager for Medium Tactical Vehicles operates under the leadership of the Project Manger for Tactical Vehicles, which falls under the Army's Program Executive Officer, Combat Support and Combat Service Support's portfolio, headquartered in Warren, Mich.