Marine Corps Armored Turret System

truckturret1.jpgMounted gunners seeing clearer thanks to new turrets

Military transformation continues right before our very eyes:

Duty in the turret of Regimental Combat Team 5’s seven-ton trucks just got clearer with new ballistic-glass and steel encased firing positions.

The new turrets, called Marine Corps Armored Turret Systems, are being installed on seven-ton trucks, the first in an upgrade to give gunners greater visibility and beefed-up protection for convoy operations.

Although not nearly as exciting (or expensive) as F-22 fighters, Future Combat Systems, or DD(X)-class destroyers, the incorporation of low-level fixes and improvements continues to make major changes on the battlefield. While billion upon billions for next-generation programs may (or may not) pay off down the road, small-scale alterations to equipment or tactics are saving lives and contributing to mission success right now.

And it’s no accident or surprise that many of these incremental improvements are thought up by the troops putting it all on the line.

“The advantage of these turrets is the protection it provides the gunner,” said Master Sgt. Adam Lyttle, the 42-year-old Motor Transport chief for the regiment. “The most noticeable change is the ballistic glass. They also have higher turrets and they traverse a lot easier.”

Ballistic shields replaced steel plates in front of the gunner’s position and side ballistic glass allows Marines to scan from side to side without having to expose themselves to fire. It’s an important feature. Until now, Marines had to crouch down behind their guns.

“The gunner can stay higher on the guns now,” Lyttle explained. “Their field of view is a whole lot better. The gunner plays a major part on all convoys.”

While it may seem obvious that that the ballistic glass lets Marines see who’s shooting so that they can shoot back, the primary threat these days is the improvised explosive device. Gunners on convoys spend a lot of time on the lookout for roadside bombs and suicide-bomb cars.

“I feel a lot safer,” said Cpl. Jose M. Ramirez, a 22-year-old from Lemoore, Calif., assigned to RCT-5’s motor transport platoon. “Before I was afraid of standing up. Now, there’s no fear to get up and peek at something suspicious.”

Ramirez is one of the few gunners in the regiment’s motor transport platoon who has already conducted several missions riding in the new turret. He said it has a lot more room, space to keep his rifle and other tools handy and best of all, better protection.

Keeping the rifle handy is nice, as often a .50 cal is overkill or the turret is unable to engage targets because of their location.

A lot more info at the link.

Comments

  1. Is that gap between the side edge of the gun shield, and the wrap-around side armor always there? Seems like open area there..

  2. Just out of interest, why was this not done during the Vietnam war? I know they beefed up the vehicles by themselves, but I am surprised noone jumped on board to supply armour upgrades. They could have made a heck of a lot of money on top of improving safety.

  3. Steve – Yeah, its an open area, but you need it so that the gun has enough movement. No point having to traverse the whole turret all the time to engage different targets. Anyways during travel I can only imagine that the gunner will be laying back against the rear of the turret, therefore not exposing himself until he actually knows he is under attack and where from. In which case the question might be, shouldn’t they pad the back, so that you the soldier can really relax (joke – before someone actually think I am implying that the soldier would/should relax when on duty).

  4. Ok I see- the gun needs space to turn without the hitting the shield. As for the paddin- hey if it helps him do his job better they should go for it.

  5. Vstress, Dunno why it was left to crews to use what they had to build their own custom vehicles. You might be interested to see examples of Vietnam-era ‘gun trucks’; you can google image for them- they’re everywhere. One even shows a 5-ton truck with, instead of the traditional steel box, the shell of an M113 APC on it. Pretty clever. A restored gun truck is at the US Army Transportation Museum at Ft Eustis; that and other pics here: http://academic.uofs.edu/faculty/gramborw/atav/gunstory.htm

  6. Vstress, Dunno why it was left to crews to use what they had to build their own custom vehicles. You might be interested to see examples of Vietnam-era ‘gun trucks’; you can google image for them- they’re everywhere. One even shows a 5-ton truck with, instead of the traditional steel box, the shell of an M113 APC on it. Pretty clever. A restored gun truck is at the US Army Transportation Museum at Ft Eustis; that and other pics here: http://academic.uofs.edu/faculty/gramborw/atav/gunstory.htm