“Alongside the Humvees used by active duty battalions here, we have added the new braking system for Nebraska and Kansas Army Reserve Vehicles and National Guards to date.”
– Gary Smallwood
By Scott Prater
Fort Carson, Colorado. – Fort Carson Mechanics is in the midst of an 18-month project to upgrade as many Army Humvees as possible in the area.
Inside the Mountain Post maintenance bay, mechanics are replacing existing brake systems on their armored Humvees with newer anti-lock brake systems and electronic stability control (ABS/ESC).
“This is a safety upgrade,” said Senior Petty Officer 5th Petty Officer Mark Miller, Ordnance Logistics Officer, 4th Infantry Division, G4 Maintenance. “Upgrading the ABS/ESC system will improve vehicle stopping distances, improve control during emergency braking and reduce rollover risks.”
Both active duty units and Army Reserve units use armored vehicles for a wide variety of missions. It is a lightweight, diesel-powered four-wheel drive tactical vehicle. The Humvee can carry a wide range of equipment, including machine guns, wire-guided missiles and anti-tank weapons. The vehicle has a ground clearance of 16 inches, operates in a variety of terrains for extended periods with minimal maintenance and often transports cargo and passengers in conflict scenarios.
Earlier this year, the Army’s Tank and Tank Command (TACOM) issued a work order to modernize existing armored Humvees with new braking and stability control systems. Then the Army Field Support Battalion-Carson (AFSBN-Carson) took the lead on the operational side to modify the Humvees on site.
“Alongside the Humvees used by active duty battalions here, we have added the new braking system for Army Reserve and National Guard vehicles from Nebraska and Kansas to date,” said Gary Smallwood, Project Supervisor at AFSBN.
The team of 13 mechanics is a mix of civilian government and contractors, and they are currently completing upgrades to two vehicles per day in an assembly line fashion. Once the team is fully trained and up and running, Smallwood said, it should average four installs completed a day.
Compared to other upgrades, this is no small task. Mechanics should not only replace the brake rotors and calipers on all four wheels of the car, but also remove and replace all existing brake lines, electrical wires, controls, and car computer connections.
Miller asserts that soldiers driving the upgraded vehicles should easily notice better performance.
He said, “Our modern cars have these systems that help prevent slipping and locking of the brakes.” “This system will also provide greater traction by preventing wheel slip on soft ground.”
As part of the upgrade, mechanics will install an indicator on the vehicle’s dashboard to inform drivers when the system is engaged. Drivers will also notice brake pedal reactions similar to modern passenger vehicles.
Based on data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the military expects this upgrade to result in a 54% reduction in accidents, a 74% reduction in fatal rollovers, and a 45% reduction in fatal impacts.
Right now, the AFSBN-Carson mechanic has a lot of work to do, as newcomers keep showing up at their maintenance facility.
AFSBN-Carson officials expect the upgrade project to be completed within the next 18 months.
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