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Marine Corps Systems Command

Equipping our MARINES

MCB Quantico, Va.
Auxiliary power unit may save energy, lives

By Monique Randolph, MCSC Corporate Communications | 10th Marine Regiment | February 7, 2014


Marine Corps Systems Command and Program Executive Officer Land Systems have integrated a 10-kilowatt auxiliary power unit for the Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement truck that may provide up to 50 percent static fuel savings and save Marine lives by putting fewer fuel transport convoys on the road.

Marines from artillery, communications and other fields, as well as stakeholders from across the Department of Defense and Marine Corps met Feb. 3-5 for an MTVR APU technology demonstration at PEO Land Systems’ Transportation Demonstration Support Area in Quantico, Va. They got an up-close look at the MTVR APU, received a briefing on its capabilities, and observed as the unit was used to power the MTVR as well as several pieces of ground equipment. 

“We need your feedback on whether this is the correct path forward and whether this is a piece of equipment you’re going to use,” Jim Smerchansky, chief engineer for the Marine Corps and deputy commander for SIAT, told the group.

MCSC’s Systems Engineering, Interoperability, Architectures and Technology—or SIAT—completed the critical design review Dec. 5, for the MTVR Auxiliary Power Unit. They will send four trucks to predeployment exercises at Twentynine Palms, Calif., where Marines will conduct user evaluations between February and July. Marines from II Marine Expeditionary Force will use the MTVR APU during an upcoming Integrated Training Exercise and provide feedback and valuable data SIAT will use to determine the path forward for the power unit and provide to Combat Development and Integration for further evaluation.

“We want Marines to be honest about whether this capability benefits their communities in the Marine Corps,” said Jaspal Brar, SIAT’s lead engineer for the MTVR APU.  

The APU is ideal for the MTVR because the vehicle’s engine is often idling for long periods of time during operations in Afghanistan, Brar said. The APU is integrated behind the cab of the MTVR. It lets the vehicle operator run electrical functions such as air conditioning, heating, and counter-improvised explosive device and communications equipment with the main vehicle engine turned off.

“Our main goal is to save fuel,” said Gunnery Sgt. Patrick Schofell, project officer for the MVTR APU. “Anything after that is a benefit.”

Some of the benefits SIAT and PEO LS hope Marines will realize as they evaluate the APU include its ability to power ground equipment as well, from the M777 Lightweight 155-milimeter Howitzer and refrigeration systems to environment control units and command operating center equipment. The unit can be dismounted and used for up to eight hours on the ground. The APU is also ruggedized and provides “power on the move,” according to Brar. 

Following the technology demonstration, Marines provided initial feedback to the engineers, developers and requirements officers working on the program. This included concerns about training and maintainability, as well as tactical applications such as low-fuel alarms and additional cable systems that may be required to power certain ground equipment.  

“That is exactly the kind of feedback we’re looking for as we evaluate the prototype and inform our requirement community,” Brar said. “Those are the types of ideas we can consider incorporating in the future and will assist in defining a formal requirement through CD&I.”