Army's Non-Standard Vehicles are driving the Afghanistan Drawdown

By Cynthia Merritt, PM Force Projection, Strategic Communications and Alvin Bing, Assistant Product Manager, PD Non-Standard VehiclesJanuary 3, 2012

Non-Standard Light Tactical Vehicles
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Harrison Township, Mich. -- Jan. 3, 2012 -- The U.S. Army's Product Director Non-Standard Vehicles (PD NSV) hosted a vehicle exhibition of one of their Non-Standard Light Tactical Vehicles (LTV) at the Selfridge Air National Guard Base in November. Representatives from across the defense community had the opportunity to view, firsthand, the Ford Ranger J97 LTV Police variant currently in use by the Afghanistan National Security Forces (ANSF). This variant, which is also the most commonly used vehicle within the ANSF, provides the ANSF with key maneuver capabilities and is critical to expediting the strategic drawdown of U.S. Combat Forces from Afghanistan by 2014.

In 2005 the Combined Security Transition Command -- Afghanistan (CSTC-A) began equipping the ANSF with the Ford Ranger LTV to enhance their tactical capabilities and assist their ability to secure and stabilize Afghanistan. The ANSF includes the Afghan National Police (ANP) and the Afghan National Army (ANA) -- both branches heavily utilize the LTVs to carry out their mission of security and peacekeeping.

The LTV fleet is comprised of four variants ---- the cargo, mobile maintenance, police, and tactical ambulance vehicles. The Ford Ranger J97 light pick up cargo truck is the base vehicle of the ANSF vehicle fleet. To date, over 31,000 LTVs have been fielded to the ANA and ANP. An additional 10,000 are scheduled to be fielded by 2012.

"At nearly 26,000 vehicles, the police variant is the highest density vehicle in the ANSF fleet," said Lt. Col. Graham Compton, PD NSV. "This variant is solely used by the ANP, while the cargo vehicle variant is used solely by the ANA."

The remaining two variants, the ambulance and mobile maintenance vehicles, are utilized by both the ANP and ANA.

"Based on feedback from the field, the Ford Ranger LTV has been a dependable workhorse for the ANSF," said Compton. "It is probably the most reliable and important asset to the ANSF, meeting the essential equipment needs to strengthen the capacity of Afghanistan's security forces enabling them to take lead responsibility for Afghanistan's future."

The LTVs are commercially acquired through an authorized dealer of Ford, Global Fleet Sales (GFS). GFS is responsible for the integration of 31 modifications to the vehicles, equipping the fleet to effectively fulfill their mission and operate in an austere environment.

Some of the modifications include the addition of provisions to carry and store weapons, a heavy duty suspension package to increase mobility, and a robust vehicle collision protection package to improve winch and towing capabilities. The integration of an environmental package assures cold start operations in extremely low temperatures. The combination of the these integrations along with the extended range fuel tank and the severe off-road package gives the ANA and ANP the ability to stay in contact and protect citizens located in areas difficult for basic commercial vehicles to navigate through.

In April 2011, the Army's PEO CS&CSS established the PD NSV with the mission to provide life cycle management of non-standard commercial light tactical, medium tactical, sport utility, and bus vehicle fleets for the ANSF. PD NSV's mission is a critical component of U.S. combat forces' overall transition plan.

"The ANSF lacked the logistical infrastructure, trained maintainers, and supply parts needed to effectively sustain the high density vehicle fleet," said Col. William Boruff, Project Manager for Joint Combat Support Systems (PM JCSS). "It was at this point when the Army tasked us to develop cradle to grave life-cycle management to provide the ANSF with the capacity to be self-sustaining and independently conduct security operation missions."

Specifically, PD NSV supports future fleet acquisition requirements and validates total fleet requirements in country. They develop and provide training manuals and facilitate training for the ANSF. They also manage competitive contract buys for new vehicle fleets and spare parts, and conduct baseline testing of the ANSF LTV fleet.

"The stand up of this organization shows the responsiveness of the acquisition community and leadership to the Warfighter's needs. Within a month of notification, the organization was chartered, resourced, and began providing vital program management support to the ANSF. We have made numerous trips to the Area of Responsibility (AOR), been integrated into the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) teams and processes, and have provided timely and responsive results to meet Warfighter's needs," said Compton.

In January of 2012, PD NSV will begin testing two Police LTVs at Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz. in an effort to capture performance and reliability data. Results will help to improve the technical specifications for future acquisitions of similar vehicles.

While the primary vehicle for the ANA and ANP is the Ford Ranger LTV, other vehicles such as Navistar's 7000 series Medium Tactical Vehicle (MTVs), the Ford Everest Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV), and Blue Bird and Navistar Buses are also being supplied to the ANSF. Afghanistan's terrain and environment necessitates the use of a diverse fleet of vehicles. This diversity of vehicles and accompanying maintenance and management issues clearly warrants the need to educate, equip, and sustain the ANSF's ability to manage and maintain their diverse fleet long after U.S. combat forces withdraw from Afghanistan.

PD NSV falls under the leadership of PM JCSS, which is part of the PEO CS&CSS. PEO CS&CSS directs and coordinates the efforts of four Project and 18 Product Managers in managing more than 350+ Army systems, including several Joint Service programs, across all phases of their life cycle. Our aim is to equip our Joint Warfighters with the world's best capability -- today and tomorrow -- using the Department of Defense's best acquisition workforce.

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