M1133 Stryker MEV - Medical Evacuation Vehicle
The MEV is the primary ambulance platform. The MEV provides the mounting capability to transport four (4) patients on standard NATO litters, or (6) ambulatory patients, in addition to an ambulance team of three. The MEV provides protection for the patient and medical team and enhances the medical care in a protected environment with adequate lighting and accessible medical equipment. The MEV provides essential force health protection and supports the Army's commitment to the safety and survivability of the soldier.
The company medical team consists of a senior company medic and three platoon medics attached from the battalion's medical platoon. They ensure that the company is physically capable of conducting tactical operations. The company medic advises the commander on the medical readiness of his soldiers, assists the commander with planning and executing company and platoon medical training, supervises the three platoon medics, and supervises monitoring of the health and hygiene of company personnel. During tactical operations, the company medic organizes and coordinates casualty treatment and evacuation operations.
A medical evacuation team with a medical evacuation vehicle (MEV) from the battalion medical platoon is normally placed in direct support (DS) of the SBCT infantry company. This team has a senior trauma specialist (vehicle commander), a trauma specialist, and a driver. When in DS of the SBCT infantry rifle company, the ambulance crew assists the company medical personnel with treatment and medical evacuations of ill, injured, or wounded company personnel. While in DS of the company, the ambulance team is directed by the company 1SG and senior company medic. If required, the ambulance team provides medical evacuation of company personnel from platoon and company casualty collection points (CCP) to a supporting treatment team or to the battalion aid station (BAS).
The medical evacuation vehicle can evacuate four litter patients or six ambulatory patients while its crew of three medics provides basic medical care. The first five medical variants of the Stryker rolled off the assembly line at Anniston, Ala., in late fall 2002. They were tested at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., and Yuma Proving Ground, Ariz., before delivery to the Stryker Brigade Combat Team at Fort Lewis, Wash., in March 2003. Fully equipping an entire Brigade Combat Team would require 17 of the vehicles.
The headroom isn't so much to let the medics stand up in it, but to get space above the litter patients. If something happens and the medic needs to get to the patient to do CPR, apply a pressure bandage or start an IV, there's room to do that.
An automatic litter-lifting capability will improve on the current M-113 ambulance, which will continue to accompany heavy fighting forces. In the M-113, "the medic is hunched over, trying to carry and lift a litter from an awkward posture," Reichard said. "[With the Stryker], all the medics have to do is carry the litter to the back of the vehicle, load it on a tray, push it in and the vehicle will slide the litter over to the side then raise it up."
The Stryker's interior also accommodates more medical supplies and equipment than the M-113, as well as some crew gear. That's not to say everything can fit inside it, because it can't, but critically needed items will be more accessible. An additional improvement is the communications equipment on the medical variant. The vehicle is equipped with the same communications package as the rest of the force, which will give medics the situational awareness to know where everyone else on the battlefield is so they can get to casualties faster, Reichard said.
The medical evacuation vehicle is light, a requirement for deploying it on an Air Force C-130 Hercules transport aircraft. There is a set list of what has to go inside the vehicle, and it all has to fit somehow. Although abundant in features, the medical Stryker's developers are planning additional upgrades, Reichard said. For example, planners wanted the vehicle to have air conditioning but funding didn't permit it. There was a pre-plan product improvement plan because of funding availability. So planners had to figure out what they needed to trade off and what they needed to fight for. The goal was to try to get the vehicle as good as we could get it within the budget given.