WASHINGTON — The Army has resumed product verification testing for the latest variant of its Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV), Wolfgang Petermann, project manager of transportation systems in the Program Executive Office Combat Support & Combat Service Support, told Defense News.
The A2 variant ran into problems during PVT testing and the Army program office stopped the effort about 50,000 miles into a 170,000-mile reliability test in May 2020, Petermann said. The upgraded A2 variant include an adjustable suspension system, increased payload, improved ride quality, electronic stability control, and an underbody protection kit.
FMTV-manufacturer Oshkosh Defense developed a plan to correct the issues and has been running 19,000 additional contractor-funded shakedown miles at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, before restarting government testing, Petermann said.
The shakedown testing began in November 2020 and will wrap up in March and included 13 vehicles covering six variants. Seven of the vehicles covering three variants have finished testing with “positive results,” Petermann said, and testing of other variants are ongoing.
This allowed some of the variants to restart testing Jan. 11, he said.
During previous testing, the vehicles had trouble with the suspension, sensor and hydraulic systems and experienced coolant and engine leaks as well as stuck doors.
Drive display units were also receiving false warning codes.
The issues combined were enough for the program office to stop PVT.
The FMTV A2 includes an adjustable independent suspension to improve mobility and ride quality. “Most of the test incidents and operator feedback related to the desire for automatic suspension leveling and faster suspension height adjustment,” Petermann detailed.
Oshkosh made software upgrades for automated suspension leveling and a tandem high-pressure gas pump for faster suspension height adjustment on the vehicles, he said.
The company implemented software changes to eliminate false warning codes in the drive display unit.
A new hose material and more robust clamps were integrated to mitigate coolant and engine leaks. And a new door handle was added for “ease of articulation” when opening the door, Petermann said.
While the program was paused for eight months as Oshkosh made corrections, the Army does not anticipate any additional schedule or budget impacts “due to items identified when testing was initially paused,” Petermann said.
The Army is working toward a Full Operational Test & Evaluation (FOT&E) in January 2022, he said.
While a recently released report from the Pentagon’s chief weapons tester expressed concern that the Army may not have “sufficient time” to fix the FMTV A2 failures, complete performance testing and verify that the A2 variants meet reliability requirements before the full operational test, Petermann said all issues found during PVT will be corrected before the event.
Jen Judson is the land warfare reporter for Defense News. She has covered defense in the Washington area for nearly a decade. She was previously a reporter at Politico and Inside Defense. She won the National Press Club's best analytical reporting award in 2014 and was named the Defense Media Awards' best young defense journalist in 2018.