The weight penalty of the armor is taking its toll in terms
of decreased performance and maneuverability, increasing operating
costs and accelerating the wear of up-armored
vehicles. Therefore, the U.S. Army is seeking heavier, more
powerful vehicles which could carry the extra load of the armor
while maintaining sufficient load capacity for mission payload.
This trend was evident at AUSA 2006, with the display of preliminary
concept models of the JLTV
shown by Oshkosh Trucks and General Dynamics, and the introduction
of near-term armored trucks and utility vehicles, proposed to
fulfill ad-hoc requirements, all adhering to the concepts prescribed
by the pentagon's Long Term Armoring Strategy (LTAS).
latest version of the Up Armored Humvee was on display at Armor
Holdings, demonstrating the latest armor add-ons, including
a new armor kit, improved gunner's
protection kit (I-GPK) designed to defeat small-arms' AP
threats. It is fitted with rock-strike resistant transparent
armor keeping the gunner protected while in weapon engagement
posture. I-GPK is available as retrofit for M-1114
up-armored Humvees already fitted with GPK. Four mount quad
launchers are installed at the four corners of the vehicle,
where they can screen all directions with smoke or non-lethal
munitions. The vehicle can be fitted with air-conditioning system
derived from an airborne system designed by Foster Miller. This
air conditioning system supports up to five individual micro-cooling
vests, reducing cabin temperature to less than 29C deg. (85
F). The system also supports the gunner, even with the turret
Turkish Otokar Cobra light armored vehicle, based on the HMMWV
chassis, was displayed by AM General, which also displayed the
HMMWV successor – the Evolutionary Combat System (ECV
II). This concept vehicle promises to take the current HMMWV
to a higher level, retaining full payload capacity when armored.
Armoring of the ECV II will adhere to the US Army Long Term
Armoring Strategy (LTAS), providing the basic protection as
an integral part of the vehicle's structure. ECV II will be
equipped with 250 hp engine, using JP8 fuel. For improved mobility
and comfort the vehicle uses semi-active suspension, central
tire inflation system and an integrated air conditioning system.
Several versions of armored trucks were shown, including the
FMTV, from Armor Holdings' subsidiary Stewart Stevenson which
displayed two new versions of the lightweight FMTV family of
trucks. These included a new utility variant, based on the M1078
(LMTV) chassis, capable of carrying a payload of three tons
with full armor, without degradation in vehicle's performance,
handling and mobility. Another vehicle demonstrated the "next
generation" configuration for the FMTV armored cab. The
new cabin improves visibility, safety, handling and comfort,
while providing base level ballistic protection and prepared
attachments and bolts for the add-on armor kits (B-kit).
Lockheed Martin's is developing the new Lightweight Prime Mover
(LMPW). The new all-terrain vehicle is designed to address US
Marine Corps' requirements for 120 tow vehicles for their new
M777 155mm howitzers. This powerful, light vehicle can tow over
10,000 pounds (4.53 tons) of weight. It is transportable externally
with MV-22 and CH-53. The company displayed the Proof of Concept
Vehicle, shown with add-on armor suite developed by ArmorWorks.
ArmorWroks offers especially lightweight version of the Ballistic
Advantage armor kit, tailored for the Fast Attack Vehicle based
on the G-Wagon from Mercedes Benz. The armor kit can be installed
in the field within five hours, offering protection against
5.56mm and 7.62mm ball and AP ammunition, IEDs, artillery fragmentation
and mine blasts.
Similar armor kits are available for field installation on the
HMMWV, FMTV and as add-on protection on M915 truck cabs. An
armored version of the MXT-MV utility vehicle developed by International
Truck and Engines, was unveiled here with an armor suite designed
by Plasan Sasa, protecting the driver and passengers against
all types of 7.62mm AP ammo, mines, and IED threats. Ceramic
armor specialist Ceradyne presented here an add-on armor "B
kit", designed for the Mack Granite truck cab.
Physical protection for troops traveling in convoys could
be provided by the Multi-purpose
Troop Transport Carrier System (MTTCS) developed by Teledyne
Brown Engineering and SAIC, to address military requirements
for safe transport and rapid deployment of troops and fortifications.
The basic shelter accommodates up to 10 persons and their associated
gear while countering the ballistic threats of small-arms fire,
up to and including 7.62 mm AP, and most fragmentation from
Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast threats. The MTTCS has
been test proven by the Rapid Equipping Force (REF) at the U.S.
Army Test and Evaluation Command, and has undergone combat operational
evaluation under REF sponsorship in Iraq.