By Airman 1st Class Jason Couillard
NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- The 88th Test and Evaluations Squadron received the first set of Guardian Angel Air-Deployable Rescue Vehicles in the Air Force's inventory Nov. 12.
The GAARV is a multi-purpose utility vehicle intended to help combat search and rescue teams retrieve individuals that have been isolated and can expand the ability to quickly reach further into the battle space to provide a more mobile rescue capability.
"The GAARV may provide capability enhancements for maneuverability, force protection and technical rescue capabilities within the ground domain," said Capt. Francis Hallada, the 88th TES Guardian Angel Test Division commander.
Operational testing of the GAARV will start in March 2014 to evaluate its suitability and effectiveness for the Guardian Angel weapon system. The GA is a non-aircraft, equipment-based weapon system and is organized into nine specific capabilities -- prepare, mission plan, insert, movement, actions on objective, medically treat, extract, reintegrate, and adapt.
"The GAARV is the first multi-purpose tactical ground vehicle intended to support combat search and rescue operations and other Guardian Angel missions," said Master Sgt. Michael Butler, the 88th Test and Evaluations Squadron Guardian Angel Test Division section chief. "This delivery marks the first vehicles delivered for operational testing of a new combat search and rescue capability that ultimately may enhance the Air Force's personnel recovery core function."
The new vehicle can enhance mission effectiveness as well as have dual roles. The vehicle will be able to move through rubble and debris fields during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts to transport survivors and rescue equipment.
"The (GAARV) may be employed in a variety of physical environments across the range of military operations," Hallada said. "During a major combat operation, the vehicle has the potential to provide a capability for the rescue team to keep terrain and distance separation from enemy forces in order to provide enough time for the recovery package to reach the objective area."
The mission of the 88th TES is to maximize HH-60 Pave Hawk, HC-130 Hercules, and the GA weapon systems capability by fielding combat-ready solutions to combat search and rescue forces through innovation, test and evaluation, and tactics development in order to perfect lethality, survivability, and sustainability of the nation's forces.
With the first GAARV on hand, the combat search and rescue team members who use this equipment will be able to remove isolated individuals quicker, which in the end could save lives.