FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (May 31, 2012) -- Designing the Stryker family of vehicles to go beyond environmental requirements was a challenging task. The Stryker Brigade Combat Team's Environmental Management Team met that challenge with aggressive pollution prevention, waste minimization and environmental compliance strategies.
Under the management of the Program Executive Office for Ground Combat Systems based in Warren, Mich., the team identified and used alternative environmentally preferred materials without sacrificing military readiness and capabilities, and while balancing program cost, performance and schedules.
The SBCT not only reduced the use of and exposure to hazardous materials, but it also came out with a better product, said Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment Katherine Hammack.
"Stryker found the balance in optimizing a solution," Hammack said.
An environmental management system and environmental impact management program allowed the team to manage, track and resolve both potential and real environmental concerns.
All weapons systems must comply with environment, safety and occupational health requirements throughout their life cycle. To reduce environmental impact from fielded systems, environmental reviews begin even before acquisition and continue through production, fielding, and use during the equipment's 30-year life expectancy, ending with disposal.
The Stryker environmental management system allowed the teams to more easily identify environmental vulnerabilities. Using a team with representatives that reflected the vehicle systems' entire life cycle -- from material development to operation and support -- helped resolve environmental issues and identify pollution prevention opportunities early in the process.
"We made a concerted effort to eliminate hazardous materials from the Stryker drawings," said Terry Dean, director, Technical Management Division, SBCT. "By eliminating hazardous material call-outs from over 1,600 drawings, Stryker has been able to reduce the amount of hazardous materials per vehicle from pounds to ounces."
Elimination of hazardous material and reduction of hazardous waste generation in the development stage helps installations maintain their compliance once the vehicles are fielded. A corresponding benefit is the decreased safety and occupational health risks for the operators and maintainers.
The program management staff developed contract language that restricted the use of hazardous materials on the Stryker vehicles including all cadmium, hexavalent chromium, beryllium, mercury, asbestos, radioactive material, other highly toxic or carcinogenic material and all ozone-depleting chemicals. The contract also required government approval prior to using lead parts or lead solder.
The eradication of these hazardous materials benefited the environment during production and ensured the vehicle was sustainable and would not impact the environment later in its life. It is estimated that the number of parts containing hazardous material has been reduced by as much 80 percent per vehicle.
The vehicles were designed to have seamless lower hulls to prevent fluid leaks, such as engine oil and coolant, which could contaminate soil or water where a vehicle was used. This design change eliminated uncontrolled lower hull fluid leaks and would contain any interior vehicle fluid and fuel spills inside the hull. Drainage holes allowed for controlled draining when required.
"The Stryker government and industry team works closely with General Dynamics Land Systems (the prime manufacturer) to remove and modify noncomplying parts and processes from the Stryker platform," said Dave Dopp, SBCT project manager. "We will continue to be good stewards of the environment by managing the Stryker program in accordance with all current and future required environmental standards."
The lessons learned by this team have been shared through presentations at gatherings such as the Department of Defense Vehicle Workshop, National Association of Surface Finishers Conference, Light Armored Vehicle User Nation Group and NASA Corrosion Technology Laboratory, reaching numerous organizations from the military, academia and industry. These design enhancements can be transferred to future ground vehicle system designs.