When the public sees warfare through the lens of the media the images that arise tend to be of fighter jets launching from aircraft carriers or other high-tech weaponry. What can be missed is some of the important work that goes on behind the scenes, such as the heroic efforts routinely undertaken by army medics to treat casualties and save lives.
In the near future their efforts are going to get a major boost in the form of two medical vehicles among the five variants in the US Army’s Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) program currently underway in partnership with BAE Systems.
“The ability of the AMPV to get to the front lines with other combat vehicles means the medical variants will give commanders more options on the battlefield to rescue soldiers who are hurt while remaining engaged in the fight,” said Bill Sheehy, BAE Systems’ AMPV program manager and a 29-year army veteran who served in the First Gulf War. “From a soldier’s perspective, the army’s investment in the medical vehicles underscores our country’s commitment to ensure soldiers are protected and have the resources to quickly treat and evacuate those injured in battle.”
Like any medical situation, time is the critical factor when it comes to treating soldiers within the golden hour to save lives on the battlefield. The new AMPV medical vehicles will help close the time gap, and they come in two iterations with a range of capabilities unseen in earlier vehicles.
Both variants have full climate control to help quickly stabilise patient body temperature in varying warfare environments – hot or cold.
The medical vehicles bring new advances to help soldiers injured in battle. The AMPVs are being built with stronger armour and greater mobility than the vehicles they’re replacing. The higher levels of survivability accomplish two key objectives.
First, the improved survivability means they can go as needed to the front lines. By being closer to the battle, they can more rapidly respond to treating the injured and evacuate them from the battlefield and into the hospital.
Second, their increased strength and manoeuvrability makes them less reliant on other fighting vehicles for protection, allowing them to more independently carry out their mission. This unique capability of evacuating casualties under armour eliminates the need to pull another armoured combat vehicle from the front lines.
“The AMPV medical vehicles are the first that can get right up on the front lines to evacuate soldiers, treat them and get them to safety,” said Ruben Burgos, BAE Systems’ program manager for the AMPV. “They have the mobility and the armour to do that.”
The AMPV’s interior is much larger than its predecessor, offering more space and payload capacity. Medics will have more room to manoeuvre inside the vehicles while treating their patients, and can carry more equipment operated on electrical power.
From day one, the BAE Systems’ AMPV team has been working hand-in-hand with army medics to incorporate their feedback into the overall vehicle design to and ensure the best possible capabilities are included in the medical variants once they deploy. The partnership has helped define the location of medical equipment to optimise speed and accessibility.
“Working with the army medics has really given us the best vehicle possible,” Burgos said. “Medical vehicles are among the most complex because of all the equipment needed, and getting that equipment in the right places is a challenge – like trying to solve a Jenga puzzle.”