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Wounded Warrior kicks off new Armor for HMMWV at AM General’s FRAG 7 packaging facility

This article was prepared by Maj. Carlos Lago, assistant product manager for ARMOR (HMMWV) –TACOM, with additional information from AM General.

SOUTH BEND, Ind.— Master Sgt. Jeffrey E. Mittman was the guest of honor at the Product Manager, Light Tactical Vehicles (PM LTV) Kickoff event for Fragmentation Kit Seven (FRAG 7), the latest Overhead Armor protection for the Army’s work horse, the M1151 Up-Armored HMMWV. This latest armor follows up the successful Fragmentation Kit Five (FRAG 5) fielding which began more than two years ago. The event occurred at AM General’s new Huron Building facility in South Bend.

Master Sgt. Mittman was wounded by an improvised explosive device on July 7, 2005, while assisting an Iraqi Public Order Brigade in Central Baghdad as a member of the Special Police Transition Team. Since that day, he has worked to recover from the injuries he sustained. A seasoned infantry veteran of Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom, Master Sgt. Mittman has seen the HMMWV evolve from a soft-skinned vehicle to an armor platform that has saved countless lives.

“I have watched as the HMMWV has evolved into a vehicle that is capable of protecting soldiers on an ever changing battlefield,” said Master Sgt. Mittman

The event kicked off with a plant tour of the packaging facility, where AM General representatives showcased the newly-opened FK7 facility and the workers who ensure that all kits are defect free and packaged correctly. About 55 workers are employed at the facility, which is managed by the company’s Service Parts Logistics Operations (SPLO).

“TACOM and AM General mutually agreed to a rigorous 10-month time schedule for assembling, delivering and installing these roof appliqué kits in theater,” said Robert Gula, president, AM General Defense. “We will take pride in meeting the government’s expectations to deliver these kits in their entirety and on time.”

FRAG 7 includes the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) developed Overhead Cover, which provides the overhead protection along with the capability for the gunner to view the battlefield through transparent armored glass.

The jointly designed Government and AM General Roof Appliqué is also included to shield occupants from overhead threats. New Load Range “E” tire and wheel assemblies will provide increased reliability and durability compared to the current Load Range “D” tire and wheel assemblies. The Vehicle Emergency Egress (VEE) window is also included. The VEE provides additional egress options through the driver and passenger side windshields. A new suspension kit, the Armor Suspension Kit (ASK), provides increased durability and helps mitigate the risk of the extra weight.

The FRAG 7 will also include the latest safety enhancements for the M1151, to include a battery back up to the current Fire Suppression System (FSS), and a “3rd Bottle” Fire Suppression System for 1st responders.

“It is our intent to touch the vehicles only once and then turn them right back to the war fighter. As the fire suppression upgrades and FRAG 7 timelines coincide, we will be able to field them together. It will be a bit of work on the M1151, but certainly well worth it,” said Lt. Col. Samuel Homsy, product manager for Light Tactical Vehicles.

At the conclusion of the event, Master Sgt. Mittman shook all the workers hands and thanked them for providing a quality product for our war fighters. “Every time a 7.62mm or a .50 Cal round bounces off of this armor you have saved another life” said Master Sgt. Mittman.

FRAG 7 is designed to be both safe and effective for soldiers conducting patrols, convoy security and missions throughout the battlefield. Soldiers will not need any additional training for FRAG 7, although they will be reminded to adhere to local commanders’ guidance when conducting combat operations. FRAG 7 will begin fielding in the second quarter of 2009.

The office of the Product Manager for Light Tactical Vehicles is responsible for the fielding and management of the Army’s entire inventory of HMMWVs, ensuring its sustainment from “cradle to grave”.

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