Family of Mine Protected Route Clearance Vehicles (RCV)
US military operations in Southwest Asia (to include Iraq and Afghanistan), which began in 2001, were greatly dependent upon the assistance of industry partners in the day-to-day maintenance and combat readiness of equipment. This was especially true in support of soldiers and equipment directly engaged in counter-improvised explosive device (counter-IED), counter-insurgency, and other "contact" operations such as route clearance, explosive ordnance disposal, special operations, and convoy security.
Equipment designed expressly for such operations eventually fell under the broad equipment category of Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected (MRAP) vehicles, but included other mine resistant end items designed expressly for IED detection, inspection, removal and disposal. The US Army's original countermines systems identified for such operations were called Route Clearance Vehicles (RCV). At first these generally consisted of systems developed as part of the Ground Stand-Off Minefield Detection System (GSTAMIDS) Block 0 program. The GSTAMIDS Block 0 programs had been terminated in favor in 2003 in expectation of the Future Combat Systems (FCS) GSTAMIDS program. The FCS GSTAMIDS program, intended to be unmanned, was among the components of the FCS program not canceled in 2008. Urgent requirements in Iraq and Afghanistan led to the continued development of the GSTAMIDS Block 0 elements by Project Manager Assured Mobility Systems.
These consisted of the Buffalo Mine Protected Clearance Vehicle (MPCV), the RG-31 Medium Mine Protected Vehicle (MMPV), and the Interim Vehicle-Mounted Mine Detection (IVMMD) System, for which the Husky tractor served as both the system's primary detection vehicle and as prime mover. RCV were all non-standard automotive systems. They were also largely foreign-made, purchased "as-is" and shipped upon receipt directly into the area of operations. Being non-standard and not a part of the Army's automotive training and supply support, the purchased equipment required special Contractor Logistics Support (CLS) assistance in order to help maintain and repair such systems. The CLS contractor's staff were embedded forward with combat and countermines units throughout the area of operations. Additionally, several major, permanent sites evolved for support of mine-resistant vehicles at Theater and regional support levels. These sites were also manned by contractor personnel. Support at such sites included certified mechanics, parts management technicians, requisition and transportation specialists, trained armor-welders and like personnel.
As of July 2010, the active RCV fleet included the Buffalo Mine Protected Clearance Vehicle (MPCV), the Vehicle Mounted Mine-Detection (VMMD) system, the Panther Medium Mine Protected Vehicle (MMPV). Project Manager Assured Mobility Systems was still providing support for RG-31 vehicles, Joint EOD Rapid Response Vehicles (JERRV), and remaining Interim Vehicle Mounted Mine Detection (IVMMD) systems.
As of August 2010, Contractor were still required to support countermines systems added to the vehicle for select operations. These were either kits or design improvements to the basic RCV system. The contractor's responsibility for such additional RCV equipment was limited to basic mechanical repairs, remove/replace-based repairs, and were not inclusive of high tech electronic diagnostics or electronic repairs. Such additional systems included the Interrogation Arm Kit, Vehicle Optics Sensor System (VOSS), Air Digger (Buffalo only) and similar emerging equipment.
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