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Weight continues to present challenges to equipping Soldiers and fielding vehicles. Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles were developed for Operation Iraqi Freedom, where there are paved roads and relatively flat terrain. However, the Army soon discovered that Afghanistan’s terrain is much more rugged. There are few paved roads and more mountain passes, which makes the heavy and tall MRAPs less desirable for Soldiers deployed there. However, the MRAP’s protection allows Soldiers to successfully face many of the same ballistic and improvised explosive device threats in Afghanistan that they faced in Iraq. The Army responded by

developing the more lightweight MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) and by innovating new technologies to meet Soldier operational requirements without compromising vehicle or crew safety. The M-ATV has a smaller hull and a lower profile, but weight remains a significant challenge for it as well as other light vehicles, such as the Stryker.

As the Stryker Modernization Program updates the technology within the Stryker, significant and valuable capabilities are added. Some systems, including the suspension and armor kits, are upgraded, while others, such as those related to command, control, communications, computers, intelligence,

surveillance and reconnaissance, are new additions. Most of these systems come with a weight penalty with the vehicle’s weight expanding from its original 42,000-pound gross vehicle weight (GVW) to 55,000 or 60,000 pounds GVW.

Advanced Manufacturing Technology Group (AMTG)

Delivers Potential Solutions To help mitigate this added weight, the systems engineers continue to investigate novel ways to make the vehicles more lightweight. To that end, the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center’s (TARDEC’s) AMTG has investigated multiple potential technologies to lessen weight. A

Summer 2010

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