M1132 engineer squad vehicle
A representative of a new trend in combat engineering vehicle (CEV) design, the U.S. Army M1132 engineer squad vehicle (ESV) is an example of a "light CEV". They are part of the Stryker wheeled armored fighting vehicle family.
It carries a combat engineer squad and other Engineer resources to the point they are needed, protected against light fire. Using its earthmoving blade, some obstacles can be cleared without troops dismounting. The vehicle is also designed to control unmanned ground vehicles, such as the XM1217 Transport MULE Vehicle (MULE-T), a multifunctional utility-logistics and equipment (MULE) vehicle and its variants:
- XM1216 Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle (SUGV): a small, lightweight, man-portable UGV that can conduct military operations in urban terrain tunnels, sewers, and caves.
- XM1218 Countermine MULE Vehicle (MULE-CM)
- XM1219 Armed Robotic Vehicle-Assault-Light (ARV-A-L), which has been defunded for budgetary reasons.
Within the Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT), the Engineer element is designed to conduct mobility operations to maintain the momentum of the force. "Engineers must be capable of creating lanes through obstacles (to include surface laid and buried minefields) to support rapid maneuver and self-extraction. Engineers must also be capable of rubble reduction to support maneuver, especially in a Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) environment, until other engineer rubble clearance assets can be brought forward."
Traditional CEVs have been heavy vehicles built on tank chassis. Tank-based CEVs are integral parts of tank-centric units, but they are too heavy for quick deployment. Further, they may be too large for urban combat, especially in old cities with narrow streets.
The ESV is smaller and lighter than tank derivatives, which both helps in the urban combat mission and makes it far easier to deploy by air. Nothing is free, however, and it cannot carry out the Engineer breakthrough mission, for large-scale prepared defenses, for which the U.S. Marine Corps developed the Assault Breacher Vehicle.
Some of the design tradeoffs in the M1132, which are assigned to the Engineer Company, Brigade Special Troops Battalion, Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT), have been described by the SBCT Project Management Office:
The operational intent is to bypass obstacles when tactically feasible, utilize stand-off breaching systems where possible and only in an emergency situation utilize mechanical breaching systems that may put the ESV at risk. A system of manned and unmanned (robotics) sensors and clearance devices is required to fully meet this requirement. The ESV with its attachments provides a partial solution to this need, primarily for clearance of hastily emplaced mines on hard surfaces and rubble. The ESV will provide the means for Engineer squad to control future robotic based systems from the protection of the vehicle.
Equipment and organization
In the SBCT, each vehicle has assigned:
- Staff sergeant engineer squad leader
- Two engineer teams
- Vehicle crew
- Vehicle commander (sergeant)
- Vehicle driver
Electronics carried include:
- AN/VRC-91F SINCGARS radio, reconfigurable between manpack and vehicle-mounted packaging
- FBCB2 workstation
- 2 AN/PSN-13 DAGR GPS receiver
- Enhanced Position Location Reporting System EPLRS-V1
- AN/PRC-148 Multiband Inter/Intra Team Radio (MBITR), SINCGARS compatible, with AN/VRC-111 vehicle-mounted amplifier
- 6 Land Mobile Radios (LMR)
- AN/VAS-5 Driver's Vision Enhancer