Truck Talk

By Marjorie Censer / June 22, 2009 at 5:00 AM

The House Armed Services Committee is focusing on safety in Army tactical wheeled vehicles, calling for increased egress enhancements and a report on fire suppression systems.

Citing the potential threat of heavy armor doors on vehicles like the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle, the report on the committee's fiscal year 2010 defense authorization bill calls for the Army secretary to “pursue mature technologies that provide some level of armor door power-assist, to allow military personnel to quickly egress tactical combat vehicles in emergencies.”

The report notes that, in some cases, the armor door on a tactical combat vehicle can weigh more than 400 pounds, “making it very difficult for the warfighter to rapidly egress the vehicle during emergencies such as vehicle rollovers.”

In a second, the committee praises tactical wheeled vehicle fire suppression systems, which it says “provide a proven capability for force protection against improvised explosive devices that use fire accelerants to increase lethality and injury to the warfighter.”

Yet, the report says, the systems are a required performance specification only for some TWV platforms. Accordingly, the panel directs the defense secretary “to conduct a capability-based performance assessment of fire suppression system technology for TWVs.”

More specifically, the committee dictates, the assessment -- due by March 15, 2010 -- should consider fuel tank, tire, engine and crew compartment fire suppression systems.

“The Secretary should determine the advisability and feasibility of requiring fire suppression systems on all current and future tactical wheeled vehicle platforms and provide relative cost assessments,” the report adds.