Long-Term Armor Strategy (LTAS)
The Long-Term Armor Strategy (LTAS) was developed by the US Army in 2006 as a second generation of Tactical Wheeled Vehicle armoring strategies. It was separate and distinct from near-term Add-on-Armor efforts, which began during operations in Southwest Asia in 2003. These efforts fulfilled an urgent need. Unlike these kits, the LTAS employed a modular concept of A-Kits and B-Kits. The modular configuration allows for a basic level of protection (or A-Kit), with the option to readily add additional armor as the situation requires (using add-on B-Kits). The kits would be designed to require a minimum of work and be capable of being installed by lower echelon personnel than usually required. The configurations incorporated lessons learned from near-term efforts, but provided protection levels as mission dictated and allowed for separate peacetime and wartime configurations.
The program would affect all US Army combat service support wheeled vehicle types, including the Family of Heavy Tactical Trucks (FHTV), the Family of Medium Tactical Trucks (FMTV), and the High Mobility Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) family. When the project started it was also planned to incorporate the armor developments into the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) program.
As of 2007, the program was continuing for Medium and Heavy Fleets, but had been temporarily suspended for HMMWVs, with the exception of the M1151 and M1152 vehicles. The issue with applying the kits to the HMMWV was that the add-on Fragmentary Armor kits developed already over taxed the vehicles chassis and payload capabilities, and when combined with the A Kit exceeded the vehicle's gross weight requirements.
The HMMWV Expanded Capacity Vehicle 2 series was intended to rectify these problems, and all A1 variants in that series up to that point and the M1167 TOW carrier were stated to be "Armor Ready," indicating their ability to accept the LTAS armor kits.
By 2009, the term C-Kit had also appeared, but it was unclear whether or not this was officially part of LTAS or just defense contractor nomenclature for additional armor configurations. Not all defense contractors used the same definition for C-Kits, with BAE Systems referring to them as complete unitized armor replacement cabs and Oshkosh Defense saying they were just undercab armor.
In the 2011 Army Tactical Wheeled Vehicle Strategy report, it was stated that the Army's primary armor goal was to transition to a fleet that was capable of scalable protection. This concept would utilize the "A-Cab/B-Kit" methodology that applied the concept of modular armor. The B-Kit armor could be easily and swiftly applied to or removed from vehicles as mission requirements dictated. The adding/removing of B-Kit could be accomplished without requiring depot level repairs during the process. Additionally, as vehicular armor technology improved, the A-Cab/B-Kit concept allowed for the application of improved B-Kit armor designs without the need for major vehicular re-designs.
The Tactical Wheeled Vehicle Strategy established an affordable and operationally-informed level for procurement for B-Kits. It was expected that technology would continue to provide increasingly effective armor and the Army would therefore only procure a limited quantity of B-Kits each year. Procuring B-Kits incrementally would both reduce annual costs and ensure that the Army was purchasing armor with the latest technology advancements. The Army's FY25 objective for B-Kits was to have kits on hand to equip 30 percent of all Tactical Wheeled Vehicle fleet requirements. This objective was set to fulfill the requirements of all deployed forces, non-deployed units in the "Available" pool (including the Global Response Force), high priority units (theater committed, special operations forces, etc.), and Army Prepositioned Stock (APS).
Armor storage, and maintenance while in storage, would be the responsibility of the Army Material Command. The Army would store B-Kits at several storage locations until needed. When missions required B-Kit level protection, the armor would be shipped to either the port of debarkation or the vehicle home station, dependent on the specific situation. The B-Kits would be installed once the vehicles and armor were linked-up at the designated location. Upon mission completion, the B-Kits would be removed, refurbished, and stored for future use.
Armored vehicles (B-Kit installed) would be consolidated at key units and locations. These would include APS, Combat Training Centers (CTCs), Theater-Provided Equipment (TPE) and Pre-Deployment Training Equipment (PDTE; when present), and some specific units (e.g. special operations forces, Global Response Force, etc.). Armored assets would not be moved amongst units at different posts whenever possible to minimize friction and costs. The Army would position B-Kits for one Brigade Combat Team at a Forces Command designated location in support of the Global Response Force. The assignments of Brigade Combat Teams to the Global Response Force mission would be planned to minimize volatility caused by the transportation of armor or armored vehicles when the mission was passed to the next unit.
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