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Fragmentary Armor (Frag) Kits

The US Army's Fragmentary Armor Kit program was developed as a follow-on to the Add-On-Armor program that had begun in 2004 following the increasingly apparent vulnerability of US military wheeled vehicles to insurgent attacks in Iraq, mainly those using improvised explosive devices. These vulnerabilities had been observed in vehicles intended for combat and those intended for combat support and combat service support. With the initiation of the Long Term Armor Strategy (LTAS), Fragmentary Armor Kits were to be phased out in favor of dedicated armor kits for US Army tactical wheeled vehicles. These kits would incorporate protection offered by the various existing armor kits into a basic level (A Kit) and a supplemental level that could be readily attached (B Kit).

Fragmentary Armor Kits, referred to commonly as Frag Kits, were numbered, with each number referring to a part of the vehicle they were intended to protect. They were modular in the sense that they could be applied individually, without needing the other kits to be fitted necessarily. Some Frag Kits could not be used in conjunction with others. Frag Kits of the same number differed from vehicle type to vehicle type, even within vehicle families, such as the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) family.

Frag Kit was referred to as an IED Overlay. On HMMWV vehicles, the kit provided supplemental armor for the vehicle's A, B, and C pillars, and door frames. A Frag 1 kit was also available for the M1117 Armored Security Vehicle. A Frag 1A kit provided an overlay to rocker panels on the HMMWV series.

Frag Kits 2, 3, and 4 were not readily visible on most vehicles. The Frag 2 kit provided protection for front wheel wells. The Frag 3 kit provided protection for vehicle fuel tanks. The Frag 4 kit provided protection for vehicle floors.

The Frag 5 kit, also known as the Objective Frag Kit (OFK or OFK5) was readily apparent, being an armored door kit. Frag 5 doors were applied to FMTV, HEMTT, and HMMWV series vehicles. The doors came in multiple variations for first generation HMMWV ECV types, with an improved type featuring additional protection for the door frame (possibly known as Frag 5A). The Frag 5 doors for the second generation of HMMWV ECV vehicles (M1151, M1152, M1165, and M1167) were different from either of the previous door types, and were also different from the doors provided with the LTAS B Kit, though they appeared almost identical.

The Frag Kit 5 for the M1114 provided for replacement of doors and rocker panel assemblies. The material focused on the rolled homogeneous armor/steel solution used and battle tested with the Marine Armor Kit on the HMMWV A2 series, with an emphasis on detailed integration with the M1114. The Frag 5 armor upgrade included a 600-pound door and additional armor plating at key points on the vehicle. A critical improvement was in the design of the doors. All the window and latch hardware was moved from inside to the outside of the armor plating. This prevented those parts from becoming a source of secondary fragmentation inside the cabin during an attack. Another major modification was the addition of a large "D" ring and a combat-lock bypass system on the outside of the door. These changes helped rescue teams quickly open blast-damaged doors to save trapped personnel.

The Frag 6 kit, also known as the Interim Frag Kit (IFK or IFK6) was designed to provide protection against the increasing use of Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs) experienced in both Iraq and Afghanistan. This kit included supplemental protection in the Frag 1 and 2 areas, as well as new armored doors. Frag Kit 6 was intended primarily for Up-Armored HMMWVs and MRAPs.

The Frag 7 kit boasted removable overhead armor protection for both the gunner and all the occupants of equipped M1151s. A majority of the M1151 fleet was to be retrofitted with the new enhancement as of April 2009. By that time, in response to an Operational Needs Statement from the field for overhead protection, Project Manager, Light Tactical Vehicles accelerated the development and production of the Frag 7 kit, producing the kit in less than 6 months in partnership with Industrial Base Operations-Rock Island Arsenal and AM General Corporation, manufacturer of the HMMWV.

The Frag 7 was designed to give the commander on the ground the flexibility to use all or a portion of the kit depending on the unit's mission. The Frag 7 kit introduced the ARDEC developed and Army Depot produced Overhead Cover (OHC), which provided the capability for the gunner to view the battlefield without compromising safety. Fitted with transparent armored glass, the OHC provided protection from the sun, while still allowing the gunner to maintain situational awareness. A removable roof appliqu was also included to shield occupants from overhead threats, as well as new Load Range "E" tire and wheel assemblies that would provide increased reliability and durability compared to the existing tire and wheel assembly. The BAE developed Vehicle Emergency Egress (VEE) window would also be included. The VEE provided additional egress options through the driver and passenger side windows. The new armor suspension kit (ASK) would also be provided. The ASK suspension would increase durability and compensates for the additional weight placed on the vehicle.

The Frag 7 kit for the M1151 would also include the latest safety enhancements, to include a battery back up to the existing Fire Suppression System (AFES), and a Manual "3rd Bottle" Fire Suppression System (MFES) for first responders. A new brake line kit would also be included to help reduce brake fade that might occur due to the added weight along with a fuel filler door cover kit that prevented unauthorized access to the fuel filler and added armor protection to the edge of the doors.




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