USNORTHCOM Standing Joint Force Headquarters unveils new Emergency Response Vehicle

By Staff Sgt. Thomas J. Doscher | NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs | October 06, 2010

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – U.S. Northern Command Standing Joint Force Headquarters showed off their new Emergency Response Vehicle to North American Aerospace Defense Command and USNORTHCOM members in a display and question-and-answer session at the commands' headquarters Oct. 5.

The ERV, a customized 2010 Chevrolet Suburban, is outfitted with an advanced communications package that provides telephone communications, secure computer networks, satellite communications, commercial internet and video teleconference capabilities on the go.

"The ERV gives us a tremendous amount of flexibility to respond to nearly any situation that may arise," said Air Force Brig. Gen. Kenneth Todorov, SJFHQ director. "Standing Joint Force Headquarters prides itself on being agile, flexible, adaptive and ready. We're the combatant commander's utility player, ready to do any host of things in the homeland, and the ERV enhances that ability."

SJFHQ received the new ERV in June, replacing their older, heavier and more expensive Deployable Communications Capable Vehicle. Costing $1.2 million and weighing in at about 9,000 pounds, the ERV is 17,000 pounds lighter and $500,000 less expensive than the DCCV while offering many more capabilities.

"Even though it's decreased in size, the capability surpasses the bigger truck," said Navy Chief Petty Officer Christopher Davis, NC-SJFHQ communications specialist and ERV operator. "It provides more in a more compact shell. We have more systems with this truck than we did with the DCCV."

Among the most important aspects of the ERV is the ability to be transported in the smaller C-130 cargo plane rather than the much larger C-17 or C-5.

"That's the most important thing, I think," said Micah Ebersole, NC-SJFHQ communications technician. "It's ease of deployability. We're supposed to be able to deploy, wheels up, in six hours. With this, we can do that much more easily."

Another capability the ERV brings to the NC-SJFHQ mission is the ability to communicate while on the move. The old vehicle could only operate while parked. The ERV, on the other hand, can have a video teleconference on the freeway.

"We tested this thing going at highway speeds and never lost a signal," said Kevin Bell, NC-SJFHQ communications chief.

Todorov said having those capabilities together in one vehicle makes sense given the nature of SJFHQ's requirement to be quick on its feet.

"All the capabilities of the ERV certainly can be individualized," he explained. "If it has 15 different capabilities, you can certainly have 15 different boxes and do the same kind of things, but it would be more cumbersome, be less mobile and agile, and it wouldn't give us that flexibility to respond quickly. One of our imperatives here at NC-SJFHQ is speed. Having the ERV and all those capabilities in one platform makes NC-SJFHQ a real force multiplier."