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.