News: 140th MCT fields new A5 tractors
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD - The Army is introducing the new M915-A5 Line-Haul Tractor. It’s not quite the monstrous big rig from “Mad Max,” but it’s not your average highway 18-wheeler either.
Under its hood lives a Detroit Diesel Series 60 engine, which generates 500 horsepower, 70 more than its predecessor the A3. This road warrior is capable of hauling more than 30 tons of vehicles, ammo and Army supplies, and has a governed speed of 60 miles per hour.
The A5 is replacing the A3, and the 140th Movement Control Team at Joint Base Lewis-McChord is the second unit in the Army to field the upgraded tractors.
The A5 has numerous upgrades including two 60-gallon fuel tanks, improved power steering, an extended cab, LED lighting and an updated collision avoidance system, which alerts the driver of approaching vehicles. It is built stock with a ballistics firewall and under carriage armor and can have more armor installed depending on the needs of the mission.
“The A5s are a stouter vehicle and have a lot more horsepower than the A3s,” said Staff Sgt. Jamal Breland, 140th MCT master driver and a Bronx, N.Y., native. “You can take them on-road, off-road; they can do it all.”
Putting wheels to earth is what the vehicle operators of the 140th do best. Between hauling supplies and equipment to Yakima and supporting their ranger readiness mission, they continue to train locally with their new trucks.
The vehicle operators of the 140th call their training exercise the 100-mile loop, Breland routed after cruising the loop on his motorcycle.
Weaving around the Puget Sound like an all-natural NASCAR track, the 100-mile loop is a road course for training drivers on the A5. It starts north on Interstate 5 and then west on State Route 16. At around mile 40 it heads south on State Route 3, which gives drivers a view of the Evergreen state. It picks up U.S. Route 101 south and then north again on I-5 headed back to base.
“The benefit of the 100-mile loop is to give inexperienced Soldiers time behind the wheel,” said Spc. Travis Butcher, a heavy vehicle operator from the 140th MCT and an Omaha, Neb. native. He previously led the convoy on the Northwestern course in the A3 and has enjoyed the added comfort upgrades made to the A5.
The A5s handle every bump in the road with ease due to its air ride seats cushioning each blow. The comfort level of the new trucks has been the improvement the Soldiers and leadership have noticed most.
“Soldier comfort was the biggest thing,” said Breland. “These are a lot better as far as comfort.”
Date Posted:02.06.2012 20:06
Location:JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, WA, US
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