Email this Article Email   

CHIPS Articles: SSC Charleston Team Works on MRAPS

SSC Charleston Team Works on MRAPS
By Susan Piedfort, SSC Charleston Chronicle Editor - July-September 2007
Since July 2005, the Space and Naval Systems Center Charleston has equipped more than 2,000 up-armored Humvees with a variety of special command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) equipment that will help save warfighters' lives.

This mass integration and installation project was performed by the Combat C2 Systems Branch of the Tactical C2 Engineering Division, Command and Control Systems Department. The branch teamed with industry partners and the SSC Charleston Information Warfare (IW) Exploitation Systems Engineering Division.

SSC Charleston is now providing similar support to the next generation of tactical transportation to improve the safety of troops, the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles.

Defense officials estimate that improvised explosive devices (IEDs) have caused approximately 70 percent of all U.S. casualties in Iraq. MRAPs, tactical vehicles that protect warfighters from the blast and fragmentation resulting from roadside IEDs, significantly reduce casualties and fatalities.

Unlike Humvees that have a flat bottom, the MRAP chassis has a V-shape design that deflects blasts from beneath the vehicle. Earlier MRAP models, such as the Cougar Joint Explosive Ordnance Disposal Rapid Response Vehicle (JERRV) and Buffalo Mine Clearance Vehicles, are currently in service in Iraq and Afghanistan, and have a proven record of saving lives by augmenting the current level of mine, rocket-propelled grenades and IED protection for Marines operating in hazardous fire areas against known threats.

The SSC Charleston team has extensive experience in the integration and fielding of various Marine mobile radio communications and tactical data radio sets, sensors and other systems which enhance the warfighter's situational awareness, communications and capabilities on the battlefield.

The challenge of the MRAP project is to meet a strict delivery schedule for a high volume of vehicles while maintaining configuration management across multiple vehicle and command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) variants.

SSC Charleston employs Lean Six Sigma (LSS) and Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) techniques to enhance the systems engineering and production processes for streamlined integration, quality control and configuration management. SSC Charleston's proven business acumen and cost of operations means reduced overall integration costs to the customer.

SSC Charleston has assembled an MRAP team from various engineering disciplines, including industrial and mechanical engineers, technicians, subject matter experts and support staff.

The MRAP team composition reflects SSC Charleston's solid partnerships with small- to mid-sized industry partners and provides the agility required to meet Editorchanging requirements and the demands associated with a project of this magnitude and complexity. The team is responsible for every aspect of the activities from engineering to receipt and final inspection in theater. SSC Charleston also provides engineering reachback for all capability packages.

"The MRAPs are having a direct effect on saving lives daily in the field and we take pride in being able to be part of the support for that effort," said SSC Charleston Commanding Officer Capt. Red Hoover.

As a major theater transportation hub for air, rail and seagoing transport on a large scale, Charleston is a logical location to perform the MRAP package integration. From vehicle manufacture, C4ISR equipment integration and delivery to the warfighter, it all comes together in Charleston.

TAGS: ITAM, Workforce
An overhead banner hanging in an SSC Charleston service bay that houses the next generation of armored transportation for troops, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, serves as a poignant reminder to employees that troop lives depend on their work. Photo by SSC Charleston photographer, Harold Senn.
An overhead banner hanging in an SSC Charleston service bay that houses the next generation of armored transportation for troops, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, serves as a poignant reminder to employees that troop lives depend on their work. Photo by SSC Charleston photographer, Harold Senn.
Related CHIPS Articles

CHIPS is an official U.S. Navy website sponsored by the Department of the Navy (DON) Chief Information Officer, the Department of Defense Enterprise Software Initiative (ESI) and the DON's ESI Software Product Manager Team at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific.

Online ISSN 2154-1779; Print ISSN 1047-9988
Hyperlink Disclaimer