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Recovery - current and the future

pderc

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Hello fellow members,

I've just taken on the project for new Recovery Vehicles for the Army (Enhanced Recovery capability - ERC).  This project looks to replace the HL Wrecker Fleet and these vehicles are currently looking at replacing the Bison MRV and MTVR as well.
The Army has bought the Tru-Hitch system, which is a fifth wheel device that needs an HL Tractor...sounds like a pretty good piece of kit.  But there has been no direction allowing the suspend tow of the LAV 3 or new LAV 6.0!  Should be coming shortly after GD finishes another trial in Nov 14....hopefully.

My concern going foward is buying an Armoured cab Wrecker that does it all, from intergral LAV sp in the A1 ech right thru to Svc Bn tasks and national Recovery.

Does a LAV Coy need a recovery vehicle in the A1 ech, one tactical bound behind? Can it be a 100,000lb Wrecker or should we look at a small cadre of Armoured A-vehicles to fill this task?  Can National Recovery be done with contracted services or at least a "white" fleet of commercial vehicles?

Thought I would add this forum to my list of opinions on the matter!

Cheers
 

sidemount

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I've seen the true hitch in action and it is not designed for off road at all. First recovery call and going over a hill in Wainwright ripped the air tank off of the trailer. Its good if you can get the casualty to the hard pack road.

In my experience you don't get one vehicle that will do it all.

We had a incident in Wainwright a few years back where they took the M777 and HL gun tractors through a bog and beached them right up to their belly placed and buried the differentials on the HLs. An HLVW wrecker had no hope of getting these out as it couldn't get close enough (yep it got beached too) and the winch wasn't powerful enough to drag the casualties out. We needed armoured recovery, the MTVR could go up over the bog nicely thanks to the tracks and the MRV had a powerful enough, and long enough winch to drag stuff out as well.

A coy of LAV absolutely needs a wrecker in with them. In a tactical situation if a LAV goes down it needs to get out of there. Can't wait the 8+ hours it would take for 2nd line to spool up or even longer for national recovery. Not to mention how much information gets messed up in the RRR report. The recovery crew may not show up with what it needs.

Mechanics integrated with the Coy are the best option. edit to add: You should take a trip to a unit like 1 RCR, RCD, or RCHA as they all run armoured....have a chat with their recovery sections....I know those guys, and they all have some good input on what would be great for them to do the job.

There are some areas where things with wheels just can't go.

The AHSVS wrecker is awesome, but still need something tracked.

Contracted national recovery.....why would we pay for that when we already have the pers and kit to do it

Again this is just my opinion
 

Colin Parkinson

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German AFV recovery in WWII was built around a team of 2 1/2 tracks working together using winches. That was to recover tanks in the 20-45 ton range. Sometimes you just need a really long winch cable and adequate winch, along with enough rigging equipment to increase pull. I often wondered if a trailer with a winch, generator and blade, attached to a general service truck would be useful for difficult recoveries. Even a trailer carry spare recovery cable and blocks might be useful. Do recovery crews get training in rigging up block and tackle for recovery?

As I mentioned elsewhere a smaller 4x4 wrecker based on a pickup makes sense as a supplement to the larger equipment. I always found it odd that they would uses a 5 ton wrecker to tow an Iltis. Even if kept at the base it would reduce wear on the larger equipment.
 

George Wallace

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Colin P said:
German AFV recovery in WWII was built around a team of 2 1/2 tracks working together using winches. That was to recover tanks in the 20-45 ton range. Sometimes you just need a really long winch cable and adequate winch, along with enough rigging equipment to increase pull. I often wondered if a trailer with a winch, generator and blade, attached to a general service truck would be useful for difficult recoveries. Even a trailer carry spare recovery cable and blocks might be useful. Do recovery crews get training in rigging up block and tackle for recovery?

As I mentioned elsewhere a smaller 4x4 wrecker based on a pickup makes sense as a supplement to the larger equipment. I always found it odd that they would uses a 5 ton wrecker to tow an Iltis. Even if kept at the base it would reduce wear on the larger equipment.

The problem with your Trailer and small 4X4 ideas in my opinion are their lack of weight.  Instead of winching out a vehicle, your light weight trailer or 4X4 would be dragged towards the crippled vehicle.  There are numerous video examples on the internet of Recovery Vehicles and Cranes being toppled over or pulled into a heavier disabled vehicle or heavier object.  So the weight of the Recovery Vehicle does factor into the equation.
 

Colin Parkinson

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The trailer would have to be anchored to something, such as a truck and also the reason I mentioned the blade. A common theme I see in remote/ difficult recoveries is lack of cable length to pull from the correct spot or to pull from advantage.

As for the smaller wrecker, these small vehicles perform many mundane and some more difficult tasks all the time without incident and most civilian tow truck drivers have minimal training. It's horse for courses. If you get called out to pickup a G-wagon or Milcots that is broken down on the side of the road, you don't need the big wrecker. As I said a "supplement" to the larger equipment.
 

cupper

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Colin P said:
Do recovery crews get training in rigging up block and tackle for recovery?

I know that we covered this back in my day. Spent a somewhat chilly March break in Aldershot up to my waist in freezing water holding a snatch block to connect to a deuce and a half.

In most cases we had to set up a specific type of rigging (2:1 or 3:1 pull, offset pulls, ground anchors, etc) regardless of what was truly needed. Your basic recovery course (res TQ-1) covered basic winching operations using the old 2 1/2 ton or later MLVW. Typically candidates from Tpt and other units were included as part of driver training courses. The Veh Techs would get further training with the 5-ton. TQ-3 was all 5-Ton work. Then there was the various indoc courses or training sessions in Gagetown with the 113 ARV, Husky and others.

From my experience, the limiting factors for a winching operation are vehicle weight, winch capacity and cable length. Vehicle weight can be augmented using ground anchors, as long as the vehicle has the tie down points to set one up, and the equipment is readily available. Winch capacity works hand in hand with cable length. You can increase capacity by mechanical advantage with snatch blocks, as long as you have enough cable to run the rigging.

But let's not forget that winching operations are only one part of recovery operations. Towing also plays a big part. You can have winch capacity and rigging equipment up the wazoo, but if the towing capacity of the wrecker isn't sufficient, you are leaving the vehicle by the side of the road.

From my own personal experience, I was tasked to tow an ML with Hiab from Aldershot back to Halifax at the end of a weekend exercise, using our 5-ton. Had it all rigged up properly, and started to drive from the old anti-armor classroom building on Rubber Road, only to discover that I was too light in the front end to make the turn onto road running to the main gate. I was able to manhandle it enough to get it into the VOR line at the maintenance building and drop it off. We ended up having to send a crew from Base out with their Civy pattern Heavy Wrecker to bring the ML back.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Thanks Cupper

I remember seeing these (or very similar) in Germany. As I recall we were not allowed to bring them back

images
 

Old EO Tech

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I certainly support a large very capable new wrecker, like this  http://oshkoshdefense.com/variants/mkr15-wrecker/  For a combat units A2 Echelon and for the Svc Bn's.  But it will be too big to be practical in a A1 Ech.  IMHO as an ETQMS at a Inf Bn, we need a LAV MRV like the Stryker MRV already in service, or even an upgraded version with an even more powerful winch and just as capable or more so of going were a LAV6 can go.  http://www.gdls.com/index.php/products/stryker-family/stryker-mrv  The Wrecker can be called up to assist in a complex recovery operation.  But a rifle Coy Comd expects his integral recovery to be capable of routine recovery of the LAV's without impacting the flow of battle, and of being able to survive on the battlefield without additional force protection, an amoured cab on a wrecker may protect the crew but it doesn't enhance the survivability of the platform.

As for National Recovery, yes we could and do use Civilian pattern wreckers on many bases as well as the HL Wrecker and flatbeds.  But any platform we use has to have the capability to suspend tow all the green fleet, though not perform off road recoveries.

What ever we move forward with it has to be capable and the SOW/SOR has to be written well and precisely, so we don't get any additional delays in the procurement.  We are already looking at a very painful 6 years without a platform that can tow or easily recover a LAV6, other than borrowing when we can the ARV from an Armoured or Engineer Regt.

Feel free to PM me if you want to discuss my opinion on what the ERC needs to deliver.

 

Colin Parkinson

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Old EO Tech said:
As for National Recovery, yes we could and do use Civilian pattern wreckers on many bases as well as the HL Wrecker and flatbeds.  But any platform we use has to have the capability to suspend tow all the green fleet, though not perform off road recoveries.

Why is this, are you limited to the number of platforms? No one uses a single sized rig, it's just not a practical or a good use of resources (unless of course you are capped at a certain number regardless of type) the cost and wear and tear on a larger wrecker to tow a small vehicle is not value for money. Also if you have two calls, you can use the smaller one to retrieve the smaller vehicle. It also gives you a stepping stone where the new techs can learn the trade and also you can train non-techs to run them when you have a shortfall of vehicle techs.
 

childs56

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For general recovery and off road non combat
Take a look at what the Oilfield uses for Bed trucks. Could get one set up with a wheel lift, and a rotater. Equipped with duel 60 ton winches. They can be equipped with flotation tires so they can be used on soft terrain. These trucks are very rugged, heavy lift and good at recovering stuck rigs.

 

Old EO Tech

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Colin P said:
Why is this, are you limited to the number of platforms? No one uses a single sized rig, it's just not a practical or a good use of resources (unless of course you are capped at a certain number regardless of type) the cost and wear and tear on a larger wrecker to tow a small vehicle is not value for money. Also if you have two calls, you can use the smaller one to retrieve the smaller vehicle. It also gives you a stepping stone where the new techs can learn the trade and also you can train non-techs to run them when you have a shortfall of vehicle techs.

The problem with multiple platforms is you now have to support these vehicles, it takes far more logistics, parts etc.  Which is why the OP asked if we could get away with just one Armoured cab wrecker, vice a Wrecker and an MRV.  Civilian wreckers are not in the scope of the ERC project anyway, civilian wreckers are purchased and life-cycled with national fleet MR funds, just like Police cruisers, fire trucks, etc.  So purchasing a few more civilian pattern wreckers is just a matter of a business case for future years.  But anyway towing a Gwagon is no more wear and tear on a SMP Wrecker than is towing and HL cargo.  As for numbers, well that is a national procurement/funding issue based on the SOR that the project writes and the eventual budget given by the government to the project.
 

McG

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Old EO Tech said:
The problem with multiple platforms is you now have to support these vehicles, it takes far more logistics, parts etc.  Which is why ...
we should buy unloved support variants when we buy the sexy fighting vehicles.  A LAV III ARV would have been the right answer for the A Ech.  Even better if it could have been paird with a LAV III MRT.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Old EO Tech said:
The problem with multiple platforms is you now have to support these vehicles, it takes far more logistics, parts etc.  Which is why the OP asked if we could get away with just one Armoured cab wrecker, vice a Wrecker and an MRV.  Civilian wreckers are not in the scope of the ERC project anyway, civilian wreckers are purchased and life-cycled with national fleet MR funds, just like Police cruisers, fire trucks, etc.  So purchasing a few more civilian pattern wreckers is just a matter of a business case for future years.  But anyway towing a Gwagon is no more wear and tear on a SMP Wrecker than is towing and HL cargo.  As for numbers, well that is a national procurement/funding issue based on the SOR that the project writes and the eventual budget given by the government to the project.
We were able to support multiple fleets before computer based supply systems. I hear this argument again and again. If your supply chain is that broken, take it out back and shoot it because it's a lame duck. Using your argument, every trip with the big wrecker is wear and tear on an assets that will be in short supply and difficult to replace, better to use it for field and exercise work and use civilian pattern trucks to do the mundane stuff.
 

McG

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Future B fleet recovery vehicles should be crew or extended cab.  This would allow driver and crew comd of stricken vehicles to be collected by a single asset.
 

Brasidas

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MCG said:
Future B fleet recovery vehicles should be crew or extended cab.  This would allow driver and crew comd of stricken vehicles to be collected by a single asset.

A det getting picked up at 1am at -30 from a dead ML by a 2-man HL crew, 50km from Wainwright is certainly fun.
 

MilEME09

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I saw this outside my work the other night and took a picture, while not a wrecker, it is a viable MRT, in fact its a truck for a heavy duty mechanic company, so it is a off the shell MRT that if this isn't a custom built truck, the CF could buy for cheap, or maybe modify a MILCOT.

icDIKIK.jpg
 

McG

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Brasidas said:
A det getting picked up at 1am at -30 from a dead ML by a 2-man HL crew, 50km from Wainwright is certainly fun.
Even if you have a full trail party, the jump seats fill-up faster than the hooks to haul vehicles.
 

Brasidas

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MCG said:
Even if you have a full trail party, the jump seats fill-up faster than the hooks to haul vehicles.

Just fondly recalling the experience of an hour's drive in the lap of a 350lb 5'6 mechanic after the packet commander assumed there would be room for us in the cab of an HL.
 

Old EO Tech

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MCG said:
Future B fleet recovery vehicles should be crew or extended cab.  This would allow driver and crew comd of stricken vehicles to be collected by a single asset.

I agree it certainly is another headache for Tpt to pick up everyone but the driver, as the Wrecker can only take one passenger....I somehow doubt this is a key point in the SOR though :-/
 

Old EO Tech

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MCG said:
we should buy unloved support variants when we buy the sexy fighting vehicles.  A LAV III ARV would have been the right answer for the A Ech.  Even better if it could have been paird with a LAV III MRT.

I don't think there is a need to separate the recovery and repair functions for an A Ech vehicle, MRV's can still carry a lot of parts even though they also have a large winch and a anchor blade.

 
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