Canada's Logistics and Support Vehicle Projects
Posted: 03/22/2012 12:00:00 AM EDT | 0
There are a multitude of challenges of overseeing a large and diverse tactical fleet, not least of which is sharing the stages of numerous projects to relevant partners within the defense community as well as industry.
In Canada, those challenges fall in part to Lieutenant - Colonel Tim Hall, Project Director, Tactical Support Vehicle System (TSVS), National Defence.
Lieutenant - Colonel Hall noted that he is currently responsible for three projects, each in different states of project life:
1. Medium Support Vehicle System (MSVS) Project, which is in four pieces as follows:
a. MilCOTS - virtually complete, contract awarded in 2009 for 800 x 8 Tonne trucks purchased from Navistar Defence and an additional 500 options subsequently exercised. The last 145 or so vehicles are being fielded over the next few months. This fleet is designed primarily for training, training support, domestic operations and employment by the Reserves.
b. Baseline Shelter - contract awarded in 2009 to DEW Engineering for the acquisition of 895 x shelters in six variants. Final Design Acceptance (FDA) anticipated shortly.
c. SEV (Baseline Shelter) kitting - the Request for proposal (RFP) closed 03 Feb 2012 for the kitting of 792 of these shelters into 29 configurations. Contract award anticipated later this summer.
d. Standard Military Pattern Vehicle. The RFP for this portion of the Project is active and will close the end of April 2012. It details the acquisition of up to 1500 SMP (8 tonne mandatory payload), with up to 150 Armour Protection Systems and up to 302 Trailers. Contract award anticipated in January 2013.
2. Logistics Vehicle Modernization. This Project will modernize those elements of the field force's 'B' vehicle fleet not addressed by MSVS. Current fleets whose capability will be renewed include the Light Support Vehicle, Wheeled (the LSVW, based on the IVECO 20.10 WM, which entered service in 1993) and associated vehicle Shelters, the Heavy Logistics Vehicle, Wheeled (the HLVW, based on the Steyr 1491, which was fielded in 1992), and the Heavy Engineering Support Vehicle (a MilCOTS fleet based on the Western Star M4866S, entered service in 1996/97). Priority of effort is being given to the replacement of the Light fleet, which will be known as the Combat Logistics Support Vehicle (CLSV).
3. Enhanced Recovery Capability. Although not a Project yet, this initiative is taking shape in order to address the present and growing capability gap with respect to recovery operations. “Given the impending contract award of TAPV, CCV, MSVS SMP as well as LAV upgrades, one must recognize that the size and weight of these fleets will overmatch the capacity of the HLVW Wrecker fleet in some instances,” said Lieutenant - Colonel Hall. “Given that, there is a requirement for the Army to define, develop, acquire and field a system to allow the efficient conduct of recovery operations as our new vehicle fleets are distributed to the field force.”
He noted that while “these are truly fascinating projects to work on,” there are “several challenges associated with projects of this scope, as one might expect.”
As Project Director for the Tactical Support Vehicle System section, Lieutenant-Colonel Hall’s responsibilities are to ensure that “the requirements are articulated, developed and validated rigorously, with requisite liaison and consultation, that the courses of action open to us are clearly identified so that informed direction is achieved, and then to work with our colleagues within the procurement system to maintain this path so that that the core requirements are protected throughout the process.”
A primary challenge in this role, he said, is “grasping a thorough appreciation of what industry is doing—and what they are capable of doing –in the context of my projects.” He noted that while Western structures, and by extension equipment capabilities, requirements and allocations, have been influenced for decades by the Cold War experiences, this paradigm is shifting to a more agile model that is better suited to operations across the full spectrum of conflict.
“In the context of our B vehicle fleets, the threats, the manner in which we conduct our business, the desire for greater commonality and integration of systems, and indeed the manner in which procurement is effected –all of these have evolved, as have crusty soldiers like me, I hope!—since the preceding generation of equipment was acquired, and these diverse elements must be closed with, understood, and properly articulated through the creation of a set of requirements which industry will eventually satisfy,” he said. “Done properly, and with detailed interaction with our industry partners, this will set the conditions for the Canadian Forces to receive the right tools. This again ties into producing the 'right' set of requirements, which is clearly my Vital Ground.”
The other primary challenge faced, he said, is time. “Projects rarely move overnight—for good reason, I may add—nor is my priority necessarily the top priority for everyone else.” The key to navigating that challenge, he said is tempering expectations and being patient, while ensuring that project milestones are clearly understood.
“Ultimately the process is very much a team activity, with a wide range of participants, and with this comes a degree of necessary process, which takes time,” he said. “Against this I have to measure on behalf of the Army the capabilities which my projects are billed to replace. Working backwards from a particular platform's 'expiration date', we need to ensure that the project can deliver on time and on target, or at worst that any capability gap is clearly articulated and that we assist in the formulation of contingency plans as required.”
Properly done, continued Lieutenant - Colonel Hall, the synchronization of new equipment being fielded and old equipment being divested allows the field force to fulfill its tasks with little or no interruption.
“My team, all of whom have an operational background, are keenly aware of this aspect of our projects and work hard to achieve this aim,” he said. “Also, I am keenly aware that time is money, and any significant delay to a project can have an impact on my bottom line once a contract is awarded, perhaps resulting in less equipment than the original scope demanded. In this regard, the challenge for DLR 8 staff is to do what we can to ensure that delays are prevented or mitigated to the extent possible, in order to protect the requirement.”
Lieutenant - Colonel Tim Hall, Project Director, Tactical Support Vehicle System (TSVS), National Defence, will be speaking at IDGA’s Military Vehicles Canada Summit, to be held from March 26-28, 2012 in Ottawa, Canada. For further information, visit www.militaryvehiclescanada.com, or call 1-800-882-8684. And for comprehensive defense and government news and information, visit www.idga.org
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