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Deployable Universal Combat Earthmover (DEUCE)

DEUCE provides the U.S. Military with an unprecedented combination of self-deploy and earthmoving capabilities for light infantry and Airborne engineers to prepare airstrips, roads and protective positions, all while keeping pace with the ground forces.

The Deployable Universal Combat Earthmover (DEUCE) is the successor to the D-5 bulldozer. DEUCE is lighter, faster and more maneuverable than the D5 and, unlike the D5, its controls are like the cars and trucks soldiers already know how to operate, with its steering wheel, accelerator pedal and brakes as well as an automatic transmission. DEUCE is equipped with an enclosed, climate controlled cab (both heat and air conditioning) that allows optimal performance from a less-fatigued operator.

A pair of Deployable Universal Combat Earthmover (DEUCE) bulldozers working in tandem
A pair of Deployable Universal Combat Earthmover (DEUCE) bulldozers working in tandem.

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Deployable Universal Combat Earthmover (DEUCE) History

The DEUCE program began in late 1992, when the U.S. Army Engineering School (USAES), Fort Leonard Wood, MO, began exploring the concept of an air-transportable, self-deployable, low velocity air-droppable dozer for light infantry and Airborne units. The goal was a highly mobile machine that could transverse from job site to job site without a dedicated transporter.

Caterpillar Defense & Federal Products, Mosseville, IL, delivered the first two units to USAES in January 1999. DEUCE began fielding to light infantry and combat engineers in May 1999, continuing to roll out through 2002. Light infantry units headquartered at Fort Drum, NY, and Airborne units at Fort Bragg, NC, were the first to be equipped with the new dozers. Units at Fort Lewis, WA were next in line to receive a handful of DEUCEs for testing in support of the Initial Brigade Combat Teams.

In November 1999, USAES trained several soldiers, both operators and maintainers, from the 5th Engineer Battalion, who tried out two DEUCEs at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, CA, where it earned praise for its performance. The only suggestion for improvement was a desire for a wider blade, but that is not possible while keeping the DEUCE at a width that permits C-130, C-141, C-5, and C-17 drive on/off.

About 185 DEUCE bulldozers will be procured in total for the Army, with additional usage in other U.S. services.

Deployable Universal Combat Earthmover (DEUCE) Capabilities

DEUCE has two operating modes -- earthmoving mode and self-deploy mode -- switchable from the dashboard. In earthmoving mode, the operator drives the DEUCE with standard power-shift transmission. This allows for the slow, high-torque drive required for dozing. When switched to self-deploy mode, a six-speed automatic transmission kicks in, enabling the DEUCE to reach its max road speed of 30 mph.

The DEUCE's six-way (power, angle, and tilt) hydraulic blade not only goes up and down, but also can tilt left and right for "v-cuts" and can angle left and right. This flexibility gives an operator a variety of dozing options depending on the task at hand. Moreover, the hydraulic blade can significantly improve dozing times.

The DEUCE is equipped with rubber track, instead of the steel track found on most construction equipment. The rubber track avoids damage that steel can cause, especially to asphalt paved surfaces.

Deployable Universal Combat Earthmover (DEUCE) Characteristics

Length 231 in (5867 mm)
Width 116 in (2946 mm)
Height 109.3 in (2776 mm)
Gross Weight 35,500 lbs (16,140 kg)
Engine Caterpillar 3126 Hydraulic Electronic Unit Injector with dual power settings: 185hp (earthmoving mode), 265hp (self-deploy mode)
Max speed 30 mph (48 kph)
Winch 22,000 lb (9,979 kg)

The DEUCE is NSN 2430-01-423-2819. A Cold Weather Engine Heater Kit for the DEUCE is NSN 2990-01-486-9911. The Heater Kit requires two batteries, NSN 6140-01-457-2404.

Manuals for the DEUCE will be in the TM 5-2430-200-xx series, where the xx represents the maintenance level.

Soldiers from the 611th Engineers Company (USAR), Sharonville, OH, and civilian workers receive training on the Caterpillar Deployable Universal Combat Earthmover (DEUCE), Ft. McCoy, WI, 14 November 2001
Soldiers from the 611th Engineers Company (USAR), Sharonville, OH, and civilian workers receive training on the Caterpillar Deployable Universal Combat Earthmover (DEUCE), Ft. McCoy, WI, 14 November 2001.

Deployable Universal Combat Earthmover (DEUCE) works on airfield construction test, Fort Bragg, NC, March-April 2001
Deployable Universal Combat Earthmover (DEUCE) works on airfield construction test, Fort Bragg, NC, March-April 2001.

Deployable Universal Combat Earthmover (DEUCE) works on airfield construction test, Fort Bragg, NC, March-April 2001
Deployable Universal Combat Earthmover (DEUCE) works on airfield construction test, Fort Bragg, NC, March-April 2001.

Deployable Universal Combat Earthmover (DEUCE) works on airfield construction test, Fort Bragg, NC, March-April 2001
Deployable Universal Combat Earthmover (DEUCE) works on airfield construction test, Fort Bragg, NC, March-April 2001.

Soldiers prepare a Deployable Universal Combat Earthmover (DEUCE) for service at Camp New Jersey, Kuwait, during Operation Enduring Freedom, 15 March 2003
Soldiers prepare a Deployable Universal Combat Earthmover (DEUCE) for service at Camp New Jersey, Kuwait, during Operation Enduring Freedom, 15 March 2003.

Deployable Universal Combat Earthmovers (DEUCEs) operated by Staff Sgt. Ronaldo Reyter (left), 1st squad leader, and Spc. Chad Musil, 173rd Combat Support Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Brigade (Airborne) work to create an earthen ramp out of a riverbed on the road to Fire Base Wolverine, Afghanistan, June 2005
Deployable Universal Combat Earthmovers (DEUCEs) operated by Staff Sgt. Ronaldo Reyter (left), 1st squad leader, and Spc. Chad Musil, 173rd Combat Support Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Brigade (Airborne) work to create an earthen ramp out of a riverbed on the road to Fire Base Wolverine, Afghanistan, June 2005.

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