Last week, the Army completed the first vehicle in their ground-breaking Stryker Double V-Hull, or DVH, exchange program. The program exchanges flat-bottom Stryker hulls for the newer DVH design.
The Army’s Project Manager, Stryker Brigade Combat Team initiated the exchange program, in partnership with Anniston Army Depot, or ANAD, and General Dynamics Land Systems, in response to an Army requirement for additional DVH vehicles and to reduce the overall vehicle cost.
To maximize the use of fiscal resources, the Army and General Dynamics developed the DVH exchange pilot program to validate if components from the traditional Stryker flat bottom hull, or FBH variants could be expeditiously refurbished and installed on a new, more survivable DVH, at less cost than producing a new vehicle.
The process includes reusing common parts from FBHs, refurbishing them, and re-using the parts in the new DVH structure. The DVH exchange vehicles are expected to have all of the same capabilities as new DVH production vehicles – the DVH exchange vehicles are built on exactly the same production line as new DVH vehicles.
“The first vehicle is a significant milestone, but we still have more work to do. As the pilot program progresses at Anniston, and more DVH exchange vehicles are built, processes established and actual costs are determined, the Army will then be in a position to make informed decisions as to the benefits of further DVH exchange production should additional vehicle requirements emerge,” said David Dopp, U.S. Army project manager, SBCT.
The teardown of the first two FBHs at Anniston was completed this past summer, and every step was painstakingly documented. The engineering effort produced vital working teardown and rework directions which will be examined to find further efficiencies as well as a way to help determine exact costs. ANAD will continue the disassembly of additional FBHs over the next several months. The reworked parts will be turned over to General Dynamics to be used in the new DVH structures being assembled at ANAD.
“The Stryker exchange program is a prime example of how the Army can work with industry to find mutually beneficial solutions to common challenges faced in this austere fiscal environment. Innovative partnerships between the Army and industry remain crucial as we move forward, looking for ways to modernize the Army’s Stryker fleet to get the best vehicles in the hands of our Soldiers, while trying to minimize costs to the taxpayer,” said Scott Davis, Army’s program executive officer for Ground Combat Systems.
The exchange program is scheduled to be complete in early 2013. While further vehicles will have to be completed for the Army to know exact savings, it is currently estimated that DVH exchange vehicles will cost 40 percent less, when comparing them to a newly constructed DVH version.
Gordon Stein, General Dynamics Land Systems vice president for SBCT, said that the joint team did an outstanding job executing and validating the process.
“The Stryker exchange program is a testament to what our collective teams have accomplished,” Stein said. “This first vehicle brings additional DVH survivability to the troops three months early, with a significant cost savings to the Army for each exchange vehicle.”
PM SBCT is also exploring additional savings that can be realized by reusing the entire FBH vehicle or FBH unique parts.
The new threat in Afghanistan led to an urgent requirement to change the design of the flat-bottom Stryker vehicles to a more survivable DVH model. Design, test, production, and fielding were accelerated to get this new design into the hands of the Soldier within 18 months.
A total of 17 Stryker brigades have deployed to both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. During this time, the Stryker Family of Vehicles consistently maintained an Operational Readiness Rate well above 90 percent — a new standard. The deployed fleet successfully increased operational miles ten-fold compared to garrison/peacetime deployment; over 40 million miles while exceeding operational readiness requirements.
The Stryker DVH exchange program is managed by the Army’s PM SBCT, which falls under leadership of the Program Executive Office for Ground Combat Systems.