Interim Armored Vehicle Testing Begins
(Source : US Department of Defense ; issued June 8, 2000)


ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Armored vehicles from a number of commercial firms are being tested this month at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., as a board decides which one will be used as the troop carrier for the new Brigade Combat Teams.

The "bid samples" of the "Infantry Carrier Vehicle" arrived at Aberdeen Proving Ground June 6 and testing began the next day, according to Army Developmental Test Command officials.

A 30-day series of events will be held at Aberdeen that will enable the Army's Source Selection Evaluation Board to grade the performance and endurance of the armored vehicles, officials said. The board is comprised of technical experts from the Army Test and Evaluation Command, the Training and Doctrine Command and the Army Materiel Command.

The Infantry Carrier Vehicle will be the "center of gravity," officials said, for the Initial Brigade Combat Teams -- the first two of which are now being formed at Fort Lewis, Wash. The Infantry Carrier Vehicles will be able to carry a squad of nine soldiers and their gear. They will also be accompanied by another vehicle, the Mobile Gun System.

Because the Mobile Gun System is more complex and will need more initial development up front, the SSEB will evaluate the proposals for Mobile Gun System vehicles using "paper documentation" rather than bid samples, said Col. Donald Schenk of the Tank-automotive and Armaments Command and the Army's program manager for the IBCT.

The primary intent of the 30-day source-selection evaluation is to obtain "certifiable" and "repeatable" data about performance and endurance, and help the Army obtain the "best value" in the system it seeks to acquire, said Schenk. The ability of firms to meet ambitious production schedules will also weigh heavily in making source selections, he added.

This all started in October 1999, when Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki unveiled his vision to make the Army a rapidly deployable, lethal, agile, survivable and sustainable force. He launched a major Army transformation that initially requires the organization of Brigade Combat Teams capable of deploying to any hot spot in the world within 96 hours.

The first Brigade Combat Team to transform to the new vision -- the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division -- is scheduled to achieve initial operating capability by the end of December 2001. The second IBCT -- the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division -- is slated to achieve this capability by the end of December 2002.

The operational requirements of these teams will require not only changes in organization, but also new, lighter, more mobile weapon systems. Army plans to equip the BCTs include the Interim Armored Vehicle which will be comprised of two classes of vehicle - the Mobile Gun System and the Infantry Carrier Vehicle.

Col. Andrew Ellis, commander of the Aberdeen Test Center, the Army Developmental Test Command organization that will conduct the 30-day data collection on bid samples, said ATC's test technology and state-of-the-art facilities make it an ideal place to gather precise information about IAV bid samples for the Army's source selection process.

The ATC will team up with other organizations to provide the data for evaluation, Ellis added, including the headquarters of the Developmental Test Command, the Operational Test Command, the Army Research Laboratory, the Army's Yuma Proving Ground and the Electronic Proving Ground, a DTC test site at Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

Data collection events - ranging from running vehicles across ATC's test tracks to determining how easily vehicles can load on C-130 aircraft - will take place simultaneously to keep on the Army's tight schedule, Ellis said.

During the 30-day data-collection effort, the ATC will operate seven days a week, with two 10-hour shifts daily, said Peter McCall, the ATC's Interim Armored Vehicle team leader.

(by Mike Cast, Army News Service)

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