Help U.S. Troops Maintain
SUSV All-terrain Vehicles
Photo by author
Keeping SUSVs Goin’ When It’s Snowin’
by Staff Sergeant Conrad College SUSV to get to telephone poles and tow- broad that, when fully-loaded, it weighs
372nd MPAD ers in remote locations, according to less per unit of surface area than a skiing
Swedish Army Major Lennart Malmgren, soldier,” Malmgren said.
chief maintenance officer at Camp Odin
With the frigid, unpredictable Balkan near Tuzla. U.S. troops found working on the SUSV
winter fast approaching, Task Force Ea- relatively easy.
gle called on the Swedish Army to help Malmgren and a group of his staff came
“It’s pretty good. It’s simpler than you’d
train U.S. soldiers on an unfamiliar, yet to Eagle Base recently to train U.S. me- think,” said Specialist Adam Petersen, a
useful, all-terrain vehicle. chanics from several different units. Built
by Hagglunds Vehicle AB in Sweden, the mechanic stationed at Eagle Base with
The Army has about 30 Swedish-built the 88th Air Defense Artillery, 2nd Ar-
small-unit support vehicles — or SUSVs SUSV can carry four people in the front mored Cavalry Regiment. “But you can’t
section and up to 12 troops in full combat
— deployed throughout the task force, to gear, or a little more than 3,000 pounds of get underneath it to work. The bottom is a
be used to transport troops and equipment solid sheet like a boat, so it’s like work-
to remote locations. cargo, in the back section. Malmgren said ing on an inboard engine on a boat —
the vehicle has a Mercedes-Benz six-
The SUSV is a great winter vehicle; just cylinder, in-line diesel engine and a Mer- you have to do things like change the
transmission fluid from inside the cab.
ask any Swedish soldier. But U.S. sol- cedes Benz four-speed automatic trans- Even then, you pump the fluid out, using
diers who recently came to Bosnia didn’t mission.
know how to work on them, leaving most a hand-pump.”
“Sweden is a small country. We can’t
out of service. To get the fleet up and afford to order many special engines and He said the Mercedes-Benz engine is
running, a team of Swedish Army m e- nearly trouble-free. “There are very few
chanics taught U.S. soldiers how to con- other components,” he said. “So we often problems with the engine, but I hear they
use off-the-shelf parts that are already
duct routine maintenance and, probably being mass-produced. This engine is ba- have a lot of trouble with the track.”
most important, how to drive the vehicles.
sically the same as in a Mercedes Benz From a distance, the track looks like a
“The reason we have SUSVs here is to 300 automobile.” regular, metal track, but it is actually a
serve the troops on the hilltops,” said one-piece, rubber track. If it gets torn
The driver’s controls are user-friendly.
Captain Lance Eldred, the 1st Armored Sitting in the driver’s seat, the steering completely across, it must be replaced.
Division’s maintenance readiness officer. Several Swedish Army mechanics and
“Snow and rough terrain will not stop this wheel, dashboard, and console-mounted maintenance officers from Camp Odin
gear shifter are almost the same as in a
vehicle.” car. worked with the American mechanics for
four days at Eagle Base, showing them,
The SUSV is a two-part tracked vehicle “It’s very easy to drive. It feels about not only maintenance by the book, but,
that hinges in the middle, excels in mo v-
ing across snow, drives easily down the like driving a small car,” Malmgren said. also, many tricks and tips they have
“We have an Army of conscripts, where learned over the years.
highway, is as silent as a shadow, floats military service is compulsory. So we
and swims like a duck. Its Army designa-
tion is the M-973A1 carrier, cargo, designed this vehicle to be easy to drive.
When a person starts military service and
tracked, 1½-ton, or small-unit support has a driver’s license for a small car, we Editor’s Note: The Swedish vehicle de-
vehicle. The Swedish Army, which em- scribed here is similar to the Bv 206S,
ploys 4,000 SUSVs, calls them “tracked can teach him or her to operate every- also made by Hagglunds, that is men-
thing on this vehicle and in all sorts of
wagons.” The vehicle is used extensively terrain in three weeks.” tioned in the previous article that begins
by Swedish companies for off-road on page 30. The major difference is that
transportation in snow and ice. The tele- The SUSV makes an excellent military the Bv206S is armored while the M973A1
phone company in Sweden uses the ski-rescue vehicle. “The tracks are so SUSVs are not.
ARMOR — July-August 1999 33