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Army's new vehicles will speed MTMC port work.

The Army decision to procure large numbers of lighter armored vehicles will have a trig impact on Military Traffic Management Command operations.

In contingency operations, more vehicles will move by aircraft.

In maritime operations directed by MTMC, the new, lighter and more mobile vehicles will come on and off the ship more readily.

"This is the first step in making our combat brigades both highly lethal and strategically deployable by air," said Col. Tom E. Thompson, MTMC's Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations.

"Strategic air assets will be called upon in the future to ensure that we have decisive combat power forward to meet the new Army Vision."

This new concept will require MTMC to assist deploying units for both ocean and air movements, said Thompson.

"Moving faster is what it's all about," said Thompson of the 60-mph vehicles that will have a range of 300 miles on a tank of fuel.

"You're looking at 19 tons versus 70 tons--that's a third of the weight," said Capt. Mike Frego, of MTMC operations.

"That will make our deployments a lot easier in rolling them on and off ships."

The vehicle is part of the Army's transformation, as envisioned by Gen. Eric Shinseki. Army Chief of Staff. It is designed to deploy brigade combat teams anywhere in the world within 96 hours, a division on the ground in 120 hours and five divisions within 30 days.

The new family of wheeled armored vehicles was unveiled Nov. 17. The Army announced the purchase of 2,131 Light Armored Vehicles, known as LAV III, from GM/General Dynamics Land Systems.

The vehicles, which will cost just under $4 billion, will be produced over the next six years.

Eight different configurations of the Infantry Carrier Vehicle will be used as scout, support and command vehicles. A variation, the Mobile Gun System, will have a 105mm cannon--the same weapon used on the original M-1 Abrams tank.

The vehicles will be fielded first with two new brigades at Fort Lewis, Wash. MTMC's Transportation Engineering Agency, in Newport News, Va., played a big role in the selection of the interim armored vehicle.

"We were a perfect choice for the source selection evaluation board for the new vehicle, said Owen Spivey, a deployability engineer.

"Our role reflects MTMC's deployability engineering core competency," said Spivey.

TEA engineers successfully requested the addition of the Air Force's Air Transport Test Loading Agency to the board to evaluate the competing design's ability to ride in C-130 aircraft.

"The road ahead to field these units at Fort Lewis will be a challenge," said Spivey. "We're looking carefully at the C-130 transportability requirement.

"The current operational concept envisions these vehicles deploying in large numbers, and the current design pushes the edge of the C-130 design envelope."

To meet that challenge, TEA engineers are working closely with the Army's Tank-Automotive Command, the Air Transport Test Loading Agency, and General Motors/General Dynamics Land Systems.

"We have to adapt to changing roles," said Frego, who spent 18 months in his last assignment as the Assistant Transportation Officer of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, Ky. "I am not sure about the loss in firepower.

"We have got to look at the enemy on the horizon and look at the mission. Our tank (M-1 Abrams) is not made to go where mission calls for it."

Veteran operations officer Rick Shilby agreed with Frego's assessment.

"The enemies we face are diverse," said Shilby.

The first of the new Interim Armored Vehicles will be fielded in fiscal year 2002. It will be the Army's first new ground combat vehicle since the development of the M-2 Bradley in 1980.

The new vehicle will provide many positive transportation benefits, said a veteran Deployment Support Command leader.

"Strategic lift is a premium commodity," said Col. Jonathan White, Commander, 596th Transportation Group, Beaumont, Texas.

"There is never enough of it in a crisis," said White.

"Improvements like these are the quantum-type technology leaps the Chief of Staff of the Army had in mind as he envisioned our new deployment strategy."

Each of the two Fort Lewis brigades will receive more than 300 of the new vehicles.

Different configurations of the Infantry Carrier Vehicle will include mortar carrier, anti-tank guided missile, reconnaissance, fire support, engineer support, command, medical evacuation and nuclear/biological/chemical.

The Light Armored Vehicle is considered an interim choice until new--and as yet undeveloped--armored vehicles can be developed. These latter vehicles will make up Shinseki's "objective force."

"It is not the final answer by a long shot," said Lt. Gen. Paul Kern, Director of the Army's Acquisition Corps, at the vehicle's procurement announcement.

Kern said he does not believe the vehicle acquisition necessarily means the Army's future force will be wheeled instead of tracked.

"You will hear the argument of track versus wheels, and I would suggest to you that argument is still a viable one," said Kern.

"This is not an experimental force. It represents a force capable of meeting the needs of regional commanders-in-chief while concurrently assisting the Army in development of 21st century doctrine to meet 21st century threats."
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Title Annotation:Military Traffic Management Command
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2001
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