A walk through the military truck world

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Just watching the catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Sandy across the Northeast unfold this week on the Internet and on television is nothing short of frightening, to say the least – in no small part because it could all be happening right here where I live, as the outer edge of this “super storm” fortunately only grazed the Washington D.C. region.

In particular, while viewing the rescue and recovery efforts going on now in New Jersey, New York City, and Long Island – just to name a few areas affected by this “Frankenstorm” – one couldn’t help but notice the excellent work being done by the National Guard, with both air- and ground-based units deploying across multiple states.

[You can view some of the preparations undertaken by National Guard airmen in New Jersey before the “Frankenstorm” struck below.]

It got me thinking about the various kinds of trucks and other motorized equipment used across a wide variety of military operations today – vehicles that I got a close up look at not too long ago when I visited the 2012 Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) annual meeting and exposition, held in heart of the nation’s capital.

While not all of the trucks and other equipment on display at that show are seeing service in the disaster relief and recovery efforts up and down the East Coast, they still represent many interesting technological advances in the vehicular world: advances that may indeed see wider use to help deal with the after affects of similar large-scale weather events in the not-so-distant future.

[To view an assortment of trucks, vehicles, and components on display at the 2012 AUSA expo, just click here and here.]

For example, Navistar Defense showcased three interesting “tactical vehicles” at the 2012 AUSA show, including a Special Operations Tactical Vehicle, the Indigen Armor Non-Standard Tactical Truck (NSTT) (seen at right) built in cooperation with Indigen Armor Co. (more on this vehicle later), and a refurbishment kit for the big International MaxxPro Recovery Vehicle (MRV), design to haul broken tanks and other combat-damaged equipment off the field of battle.

The Special Operations Tactical Vehicle and the NSTT are both designed to incorporate what are called “scalable armor” packages to meet multiple threats and share 60% vehicle “commonality” in terms of chassis components, engines, etc. The neat thing about the NSTT is that the armor covering the vehicle can be shaped in myriad ways to represent commonly-used trucks in any part of the world.

For example, it Toyota Tundra pickups are the favorite trucks, the armor can be shaped to make the NSTT look just like one – blending into the surroundings. That could also be a big help in disaster-relief efforts, especially as looting often is a big problem. A NSTT operating in such an environment could then safely hide soldiers from view of a mob … until the moment is right to, how do we say it, “disperse” them.

Navistar’s new kit for its MRV (at right), on the other hand, helps boost engine power by 20%, along with the addition of a new Navistar DXM front independent suspension, upgraded rear-wheel suspension, an auxiliary fuel tank for extended range, a Central Tire Inflation System (CTIS), plus a beefed up anti-lock braking system.

For a truck tasked with perhaps clearing massive amounts of wreckage from town leveled by a hurricane or other type of storm, the upgrades to the MRV certainly help – and that goes doubly so when such duty is called for in a free-fire zone as well.

Just some of the tools used by our nation’s military forces that may one day see service in disaster recovery efforts down the road. 

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