Army may purchase 95 hazard-detecting trucks

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Army has gotten permission from the Pentagon to purchase 95 vehicles that will help protect U.S. troops against the modern battlefield’s most terrifying trio: nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons, officials said Wednesday.

The Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicles, or NBCRV, is the newest member of the Stryker family of tracked combat trucks.

This will be the second Army purchase of the vehicles, which are designed by General Dynamics Land Systems as a replacement for the Army’s M93-A1 Fox Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle.

The original purchase of 21 NBCRVs was used to support operational testing, which began in December 2005, according to Lt. Col. Jonas Vogelhut, joint product manager for reconnaissance and platform integration at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

In April 2007, nine of those trucks were sent to Iraq “as an urgent need,” and given to the three deployed Stryker brigade combat teams there, Vogelhut told Stars and Stripes on Wednesday.

The Army hopes to buy 355 of the vehicles by 2012, Vogelhut said.

With the latest in computerized sensor technology, the NBCRV can sample the ground and atmosphere for contamination whether moving or standing still, and then automatically transmit a digital warning message of possible contamination to follow-on forces.

All seven Stryker brigade combat teams will get three NBCRVs, and each of the Army’s heavy brigade combat teams will get two, Vogelhut said.

The Army’s 40 chemical companies will each get six vehicles apiece, he said.

Since the Fox was fielded only to active-duty chemical companies, this will be the first time that the National Guard and Army Reserve companies will have with their own sensing vehicles, Vogelhut said.