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Modernized Expanded Capacity Vehicle (HMMWV MECV) Program is Another Budget Victim

But industry is “applauded” for Humvee recap support

In another concrete example of the new emerging procurement environment, industry teams earned “applause,” and little else, for their multi-million dollar investments in support of the U.S. Army’s planned HMMWV recapitalization effort that has now been cancelled.

As originally outlined, the government sought proven materiel solutions to improve the survivability, mobility, and operational capability of HMMWV Expanded Capacity Vehicles under a program dubbed Modernized Expanded Capacity Vehicle (HMMWV MECV). The effort would have required development and integration of “protective armor below the cab, enhancements of the vehicle’s ability to respond to demands for speed and braking, improvement of the vehicle operator’s ability to control the vehicle, and the incorporation of safety enhancements to reduce the intrusion of thermal fires from fuel as well as directed enemy fire in the form of projectiles from entering the crew compartment…”

Several industry teams threw their support behind the program, funding the development of prototype vehicles to demonstrate reduced risk with their proposed design solutions, including Navistar Defense; BAE Systems; and Granite-Textron.

Several industry teams threw their support behind the program, funding the development of prototype vehicles to demonstrate reduced risk with their proposed design solutions, including Navistar Defense; BAE Systems; and Granite-Textron.

The program, however, came out on the short side of the recently-released FY 13 budget guidance.

Humvees

Humvees from the 57th Military Police Company, 728th MP Battalion, 8th MP Brigade convoy along a road during the 57th MP Company’s field exercise Feb. 16, 2012. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Marcus Fichtl

In the aftermath of that guidance, a recent government update posted to the program site concluded, “In keeping with DoD and Army Budget Programming and Leadership decisions, the administration’s recently released budget proposes to terminate the MECV program. No further action in support of the MECV program is planned.”

“Industry should be applauded for the professional, prompt and detailed support given to the MECV program,” it asserts, adding, “Those pending requests and questions via the MECV Website are now considered ‘Closed’, unless otherwise notified.  Any additional inquiries received through the MECV mailbox will not receive a response.”

“Industry should be applauded for the professional, prompt and detailed support given to the MECV program,” it asserts, adding, “Those pending requests and questions via the MECV Website are now considered ‘Closed’, unless otherwise notified.  Any additional inquiries received through the MECV mailbox will not receive a response.”

Summarizing the current HMMWV fleet strategy in the aftermath of MECV cancellation during the recent Association of the Association of the U.S. Army‘s 2012 Winter Symposium and Exhibition, U.S. Army Program Executive Officer for Combat Support and Combat Service Support Kevin Fahey noted, “The Humvee fleet in a lot of instances is still suitable to do its mission, because…in the tactical vehicle fleet we have a lot of missions that are here in the States – a lot of Guard and Reserve units that do hurricane and tornado relief and those kinds of things – and the Humvee is still the perfect vehicle for that.”

Noting that the fleet contains both unarmored and armored components, Fahey explained, “The MECV was really focused on the armored part of the fleet. And when you look at the force reductions and what we are doing on JLTV – and the Army said from a fiscal constraint perspective the number one priority has got to be JLTV and not MECV – but there will be a sustainment program for the Humvee fleet for the foreseeable future.”

Special Forces Humvee

Special operations forces support soldiers go off-road July 26, 2011 at Fort Bragg during the driver’s training portion of the two-week Special Forces Basic Combat Course Support run by 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne). The driver’s training was a refresher course to prepare the soldiers for their culmination event of the course: a night, convoy live-fire exercise. More than 100 support soldiers went through SFBCC-S in preparation for their deployment in support of Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force – Afghanistan. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy D. Crisp

He continued, “Now probably less of a focus on survivability of the Humvee fleet and [a focus on] the kinds of things we always looked for: How do you make that fleet more cost effective? Things like fuel efficiency – ‘modernization through spares’ for the most part. We are going to be sustaining that fleet for quite a while. There will be times in its life that it will have to go back to the depots for some kind of reset. And we are going to try to do the right things to that fleet to maintain the capabilities that it needs within the Guard and Reserve and the functions it does.”

“Now probably less of a focus on survivability of the Humvee fleet and [a focus on] the kinds of things we always looked for: How do you make that fleet more cost effective? Things like fuel efficiency – ‘modernization through spares’ for the most part. We are going to be sustaining that fleet for quite a while. There will be times in its life that it will have to go back to the depots for some kind of reset. And we are going to try to do the right things to that fleet to maintain the capabilities that it needs within the Guard and Reserve and the functions it does.”

“In the near term, the ‘Depot Recap’ program for Humvee remains funded through the FY’12 appropriation,” echoed Col. David Bassett, U.S. Army Project Manager for Tactical Vehicles. “In addition to that there is some research and development money that was appropriated for MECV in FY 12. And we have to go back and look at reprogramming the purpose of that money. But, as our team looks at it, we want to focus that on preparing the Humvee to go into sustainment and making sure that we have, for example, evaluated an updated powertrain; evaluated some updated suspension components. And then there was the additional amount of funding that was programmed out of the JLTV research line into the Humvee in ’12. That was focused on protection. And we are looking at technologies that we may be able to evaluate that are in line with the Congressional purpose of that funding.”

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Scott Gourley is a former U.S. Army officer and the author of more than 1,500...