U.S. 385th Military Police Battalion upgrades fleet with new M-ATVs

The 385th Military Police Battalion conducted training with Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicles at Fort Stewart, Feb. 3-7. The M-ATV training included two 40 hour courses, one for the unit master drivers and a separate course for the wheeled vehicle mechanics.

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The mechanics assigned to the 385th Military Police Battalion inspect under the hood of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicle during training at Fort Stewart, Feb. 5, 2020 (Picture source: U.S. Army/Spc. Jason Greaves)

The 5-day course included vehicle preventive maintenance checks and services along with night and day vehicle operations for the master drivers. “The training was beneficial because it shows that the Army is progressing towards providing safer vehicles,” said Sgt. Jasmine Davis, a master driver assigned to the 293rd Military Police Company. “We had Humvees before, but I feel more comfortable with the M-ATVs, because they are a combination of all the vehicles we have used,” said Davis. Davis said the vehicles have better driving capabilities through terrains such as ice, mud, sand and other extreme conditions.

The mechanics trained on maintenance procedures as well as diagnostics and troubleshooting. “The first couple of days, we reviewed the vehicle operation in a classroom setting,” said Pfc. Alexander Utley, a mechanic assigned to the 293 rd MP Co. “After that, we worked on the vehicle and learned about how heavy the plates on the vehicle were.” In the latter part of the course, the mechanics removed parts and learned the intricacies of an M-ATV. “The M-ATVs are different from the other vehicles I’ve worked on because they are taller, heavier, and more complex when servicing them,” said Utley.

The vehicles have been used before, but they are new to the 385th and are fully mission capable. “The M-ATVs add to our capabilities as a unit,” said Sgt. Reed Webb, a master driver assigned to the 546th Military Police Company. “All the armor that they have underneath the vehicle makes it better for our safety if an improvised explosive device hits us.”

The implementation of the driver's vision enhancer system, which allows drivers to see at night, is among the improved safety features on the vehicles. “The DVE system is absolutely beneficial because, as a master driver, we have to conduct nighttime driving when we’re doing driver’s training,” said Webb. “It’s a way better system and helps us become more combat capable at night.”

The M-ATVs were selected as one of the Army’s enduring requirement vehicles. “I think the Army is doing a great thing by implementing these vehicles and the rest of the M-ATVs that have the improved capabilities on them,” said Webb.

The battalion will be conducting an exercise with the vehicles to test the weapons systems beginning near the end of February through the beginning of March.

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Oshkosh M-ATV (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The Oshkosh M-ATV is a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle developed by the Oshkosh Corporation for the MRAP All-Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) program. Intended to replace M1114 HMMWVs, it is designed to provide the same levels of protection as the larger and heavier previous MRAPs but with improved mobility. The M-ATV combines a Plasan designed armored hull developed for the Northrop Grumman/Oshkosh JLTV Technology Development (TD) phase proposal with some elements of the Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) chassis and Oshkosh's TAK-4 suspension system. TAK-4 suspension is coil sprung and fully independent and offers 16 inches of wheel travel.

For survivability, and in addition to the V-shaped hull which is optimized for IED protection, other aids include the ability to take a 7.62 mm round to the engine oil/coolant/hydraulic system and continue to drive for at least one kilometer. The engine compartment is also protected with the Stat-X engine fire suppression system. A central tire inflation system (CTIS) and run-flat inserts allow the M-ATV to travel at least 30 miles at 30 mph even if two tires lose pressure. The M-ATV also features a traction control system and anti-lock brakes. Other M-ATV features include an HVAC system and power outlets for charging portable electronic devices.

Armament is roof-mounted and can be either manually or remotely operated. Manual options include an M240 machine gun, an Mk.19 grenade launcher, an M2 Browning machine gun, a MILAN anti-tank guided missile, or a BGM-71 TOW anti-tank guided missile launcher. Remote option is usually the CROWS (Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station), however as previously mentioned, Oshkosh has also fitted for demonstration purposes the R400S-Mk2, a 3-axis stabilized.


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