The drawdown in heavy divisions over the years since the end of the Cold War meant there were plenty of Bradley Fighting Vehicles that were surplus. Many were shifted into war reserve stocks, but still others were available for conversion to other roles. One recent conversion is the Engineer Squad Vehicle. Externally almost identical to the regular Infantry or Cavalry vehicles, the internal arrangements have been modified to store the equipment and tools of the Combat Engineer squad in support of the maneuver elements. From the BAE Systems press release:
The Bradley Engineer Squad Vehicle (ESV) is a mobile and survivable combat platform that enables the engineer assets in the Brigade Combat Team (BCT) to maintain the momentum of the fighting force while conducting required offensive, defensive, area presence and unique engineer/sapper operations.
The speed, armor and firepower of the Bradley ESV enhances its survivability while enabling combat engineers to effectively execute their assured mobility, countermobility and urban combat mission requirements when and where required.
The ESV provides the Heavy BCT with a basic combat engineer capability to reduce obstacles and clear rubble in an urban environment. The ESV carries the Engineer Squad and its organic equipment and serves as the Engineer Squad’s mobile and survivable work room, bunker, power tool and fighting platform. ESV will be equipped with a standard complement of combat engineer equipment including:
- demolition sets;
- mine detection;
- marking and clearing equipment; and
- an assortment of various sapper tools and devices.
The ESV is also capable of employing unique Engineer Mission Equipment Packages (MEP) for obstacle neutralization. MEPs currently available include a:
- lightweight mine roller;
- lightweight blade (surface mine blade or straight push blade);
- lane marking system; and
- magnetic signature duplicator.
Additionally, ESV has the growth capability to accommodate and control future MEPs (to include robotic/autonomous mine and/or IED detection/neutralization systems, and mobile mine dispensing systems) as they become available.
ESV will be the same Bradley variant (A3 or A2 ODS) as the BCT it supports to maximize commonality of the platform while reducing the maintenance footprint and required logistics support.
Further, the Army has recently opened up positions in Brigade Engineer Battalions to women. One of the first is MAJ Chrissy Cook, S-3 of the 3rd Brigade Engineer Battalion.
Maj. Chrissy Cook made history in the 1st Cavalry Division two weeks ago when she led her Bradley crew to “Top Gun” status during gunnery, the first female Bradley commander to do so.
Cook, an engineer officer and S-3 for 3rd Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, led her crew to a top score of 835 with nine of 10 engagements passed to seal “Top Gun” status June 17, as well as a page in the history books as the Army continues to open doors to female service members for service in direct combat roles. As an engineer, Cook’s branch has long been open to males and females.
I guess they’ve changed the Tables a bit, because back in the Stone Age when I was a BC, 835 was certainly nothing to crow about.