The US Air Force's (USAF) 88th Test and Evaluations Squadron (TES) has taken delivery of the initial set of the Guardian Angel Air-Deployable Rescue Vehicles (GAARV) for operational testing.
Scheduled to commence in March 2014, the testing will validate the vehicle's suitability and effectiveness for the Guardian Angel (GA) weapon system, which is a non-aircraft, equipment-based weapon system organised into nine specific capabilities, such as prepare, mission plan, insert, movement, actions on objective, medically treat, extract, reintegrate and adapt.
Designed to help combat search-and-rescue (SAR) teams retrieve isolated individuals, the GAARV multi-purpose utility vehicle is also expected to expand their ability to quickly reach further into the battlefield to offer a more mobile rescue capability.
88th TES Guardian Angel Test Division commander captain Francis Hallada said the vehicle may be used in varied physical environments across a range of military operations, and also enable rescue teams to maintain terrain and distance separation from hostile forces to provide recovery package enough time to reach the objective area.
"The GAARV may provide capability enhancements for maneuverability, force protection and technical rescue capabilities within the ground domain," Hallada said.
88th Test and Evaluations Squadron Guardian Angel Test Division section chief master sergeant Michael Butler said, "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."
In addition to this, the tactical ground vehicle is designed to move through rubble and debris fields during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts to transport survivors and rescue equipment.
The 88th TES is focused on maximising HH-60 Pave Hawk, HC-130 Hercules, and the GA weapon systems capability through fielding of combat-ready solutions to combat SAR forces through innovation, test and evaluation and tactics development.
Image: A BC Customs designer explains the GAARV specifications to airmen at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, US. Photo: courtesy of USAF Airman 1st Class Jason Couillard.