The Officer January/February 2011 : Page 76

By Christopher prawdzik, editor Companies have adapted and evolved with the changing military over the past two decades. ot only have troops on the battlefield, missions, and locations changed in the 20 years since Operation Desert Storm; the progress, technology, and advances over the last two decades have also heavily impacted the defense industry. Overall, the impact has been an evolution of technology, but it also has been a preservation of the best parts of equipment and material that troops use in the field today. ROA STARs member Oshkosh hit the ground in Iraq 20 years ago with its Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT) and hasn’t looked back since. “That was our big truck; we made it in several variants, and it picked up the moniker during Desert Storm of “ship of the desert,” because it was almost the only truck on the battlefield that could go where the M1 tank and the M2 Bradley [Fighting Vehicle] could go,” said Mike Ivy, vice president and general manager of Army programs for Oshkosh. “It was an incredible vehicle that really, because of its mobility in that kind of terrain, was able to sustain maneuver forces where maneuver forces needed to go on the battlefield.” At the time, he said, the HEMTT was almost the only offering from Oshkosh, but they were just beginning production of their Palletized Load System truck as well. In addition, Oshkosh was producing the Logistics Vehicle System for the Marines. Today, Oshkosh continues its efforts with the HEMTT-A4, a modern version of the HEMTT with a 500 horsepower engine that makes it faster than ever. In 76 the addition, the Heavy Equipment Transporter (HET) A1 is the primary transporter of the M1A1 main battle tank. Oshkosh’s most recent addition is the all-terrain M-ATV vehicle. “The common thread across all fleets that we manufacture is the increased survivability that we now offer in our logistics vehicle platform,” Mr. Ivy said. From Ground To Air Boeing, another STARs member, is also a company whose products have evolved with the times, but at the same time, has stayed with the systems that work. The A-10 aircraft is a perfect example. Originally designed for the Cold War to fight massive soviet tanks on the battlefield, the A-10 was a go-to for close air support. “One of the key things, and that’s the part that I think people don’t understand, is the degree of survivability,” said Bill Moorefield, Boeing’s A-10 program manager. “It’s one of the only platforms that was specifically designed to fight a close-air support down in treetop level-type war and survive it.” For the A-10, which was on its way to retirement before Iraq invaded Kuwait, its performance in Desert Storm saved its life. The airplane was literally built around its 30mm gun, which provides close air support precision that can’t be had with most ordinance dropped from higher altitudes. From its gun to its sound, it’s one of the most feared planes by the enemy. And it has bridged the gap between Desert Storm and today’s conflicts. O fficer / J anuary –f ebruary 2011

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