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Textron Unveils Bolt-On Armored Capsule For Humvee

by Greg on February 24, 2010

I spoke to some folks from Textron today about a new vehicle they’re unveiling down at the Army’s annual winter symposium underway in Florida. Called the Small Combat Tactical Vehicle Capsule (SCTVC), it’s a bolt-on armored capsule that fits onto the existing Humvee chassis, giving the vehicle Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) level protection from IED and mine blasts.

With the new vehicle (shown next to a Humvee), Textron hopes to get a piece of the Army’s $1 billion plus, 60,000 vehicle up-armored Humvee recap contract due out sometime this spring. The SCTVC also appears to be a good fit for the Marines who are trying to shed some weight from their battle fleet, said Mark Savarese, a spokesperson for Textron’s Marine and Land Systems.

The Marines have awarded Textron a contract for 3 upgraded Humvee test vehicles, after putting the SCTVC through a series of blast and ballistic tests; further testing will focus on mobility and durability.

One of the big problems with the Humvee when hit with IEDs is that its flat bottom acts as a gas trap, concentrating the blast energy upward into the vehicle. The original design also had lots of gaps and holes in the frame that allowed flames inside.

Textron’s bolt-on SCTVC capsule has a V-shaped bottom, so the interior is completely encapsulated in steel armor, including the fuel tank. The hull itself is lifted further off the ground than the up-armored Humvee, providing all important clearance between exploding ordinance and the crew compartment. More space is available inside, allowing troops to get in and out more quickly. Savarese said. While the SCTVC adds armor, it doesn’t tax the Humvee engine and drive train. “The brilliance is in the simplicity of the design,” he said.

I can see why the Marines are taking an interest in the SCTVC. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Conway has been having fits about the burgeoning size and weight of his vehicle fleet as the Corps bought more and more of the bulky MRAPs. As it turns out, buying a vehicle tailored for a very specific operating environment, that is paved roads in urban areas with lots of IEDs, might not be the best solution for a service that’s supposed to be expeditionary and amphibious.

Conway is on record saying that the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), a Humvee replacement that weighs in at 22,000 pounds, is too heavy for his strategically mobile shock troops.

How bad is the Marine’s battle fleet weight gain? I came across a post over at the Navy centric Information Dissemination blog that illustrates the point. According to Lt. Col. Roger Galbraith, Marine units have more vehicles than even 10 years ago. So many more that even if the Marines were to get the 38 amphibious ships they originally said they needed to haul two Marine Expeditionary Brigades (the new 30 year shipbuilding plan and QDR give them 29–33), they would still be forced to leave vehicles behind.

The heavier vehicles also make the amphibious ships too top heavy, he writes. To make his point, he provides the following illustration:

Old Vehicle: M151 Jeep: 3,000 lbs.
Currents ships designed around: M998 Soft-door HMMWV: 5,000 lbs
Currently used on the ground: Up-Armored HMMWV: 7,600 lbs
Future vehicle, Joint Light? Tactical Vehicle: 22,000 lbs

I think he’s a little light on the up-armored Humvee; I think its weight is closer to the 12,000 pounds range. What’s clear is the Corps is facing a real problem with new bulkier and heavier vehicles crowding out limited space on amphibs and will have to rethink their vehicle modernization plans.

– Greg

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Solomon February 24, 2010 at 9:41 pm

I think but I'm not sure that it also has a beefier and raised suspension to help in the fight against IEDs.

All the services have a problem though. IEDs are probably here to stay. If not by insurgent forces then by conventional army's in the form of EFP (which are deadlier by the way)…heavier vehicles is just a given until we get some type next gen armor.

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Jim February 24, 2010 at 9:48 pm

I wonder how it compares to this…
http://tardec.army.mil/Documents/AM0709_LVUPS_Inc

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G-Dog February 24, 2010 at 10:38 pm

Looks pretty impressive, and like it may solve some current issues and fill a specific transportation niche in the military. All I want to add is I want one!!

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stephen russell February 25, 2010 at 3:50 am

Mass produce for the Army & MC alone & for NATO forces.
& US Border Patrol.
Radical.
Can I get one snap on armor unit on a used H1 Hummer, Be neat.

Crazy to drive in LA CA area,

Produce for civilian marketplace.

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FormerDirtDart February 25, 2010 at 4:05 am

Contact Granite Tactical Vehicles Inc. and see what they will charge you for one, they make them, Textron is just working with them to market them to the military

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pedestrian February 25, 2010 at 2:44 pm

INTERESTING!

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Trevor February 25, 2010 at 3:49 pm

When I was in the Corps, (87-95) the Marine Corps got rid of all their self propelled howitzers because they were too heavy. Now the vehicle fleet is even heavier and Marines have no self propelled arty. What a mess.

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Hooded swan February 26, 2010 at 6:49 pm

"While the SCTVC adds armor, it doesn’t tax the Humvee engine and drive train"
Heavier chassis, same engine, same drive train = less useful load. The SCTVC might be good but it's not magic.
The JLTV will have worse fuel economy than the Humvee because it will be so much heavier. Greater fuel consumption = more fuel trucks & more tankers for the same number of troops. That goes for the Army as well as the Marines.

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roland February 27, 2010 at 6:41 am

Why not just buy Hammer. GM was selling Hammer. In this way the army can mass produce any military hammer type vehicle at less production rate without the middle man cost.

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GLN July 21, 2010 at 4:21 pm

The Army doesn't use "hammers" they use HMMWVs and GM doesn't make or own HMMWV. GM only makes and sells commercial versions of HMMWVs called Hummer or H2 and H3! Actually the same company that makes the HMMWV also makes the H2, GM is licensed to sell and distribute them.

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Blight March 2, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Government doesn't want to get embroiled in the minutiae of running a tank factory.

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Mr.KD April 12, 2010 at 7:45 am

well When was the last time that the Marines needed to be amphibious on a large scale? (1,000 or more troops)
Most of the conflict in the world is going on in Middle eastern countries where fighting doens't always come near shore… So why dwell on what was the moto of the Marines

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TMB February 25, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Everything the Marines use to fight with is supposed to fit on one of their amphibious assault ships. Size of the vehicles and weight are a huge issue. They pack those ships so tight you can barely open a humvee door when its fully loaded so every ton and every inch of room is critical. Trips on the landing craft aren't the issue so much as carrying the gear in the ship's hold.

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Thunder350 February 26, 2010 at 12:53 am

In other words… the amphibious assault ships are bottle-necking the marines. :)

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