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Keep'em kicking dust! Throughout history, logistics have proven to form the backbone of any military deployment. This is the reason why, for modern land operations, vehicles play a vital role to keep the supply chain intact. The loss of a single link can have dire consequences for the men involved.

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The logistic vehicle has all too often been the poor child of military fleets. Generally, they are basic lorries merely adapted to carry the required supplies. However, while they may prove suitable for road and reasonably surfaced trail use, they often reach their limits on disrupted surfaces. Moreover, they lack the protection now required: in peacekeeping operations the enemy is no longer behind a 'red line', it is everywhere and can catch a vehicle unawares, even if it is still behind one's front line in what would normally be a safe zone. Up-armouring is always a possibility, but it is detrimental to the vehicle's payload.

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Reviewed here are the country-by-country situations.

Canada

The backbone of the Canadian Army's combat service support capability is the Percheron ten-tonne 6 x 6 Heavy Logistic Vehicle Wheeled (HLVW) fleet. Since 1212 Percherons, a derivative of the Steyr 1491.310/040 6 x 6 M truck, were delivered between 1989 and 1991. The army has used them in Canada, Germany, the former Yugoslavia and, more recently, in Afghanistan. During operations in the Balkans in the 1990s the threat of small arms fire, grenades and land mines led the army to develop an armour protection system using steel, ceramic and ballistic glass. It is the same armour kit that is fitted to the Percheron fleet supporting the Canadian contingent in Afghanistan. <<The fleet was meant to operate primarily on paved roads, and the aging HLVW fleet is significantly challenged by the harsh conditions and challenging terrain of operations in Afghanistan>>, noted the Department of National Defence.

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On 10 May 2007 DaimlerChrysler was awarded a C$ 87 million contract to provide an Armoured Heavy Support Vehicle System for deployment to Afghanistan, based on the company's Actros 4100 series. The contract covers 82 trucks, with a further option for 26 additional vehicles, in four major variants, which include:

* 25 cargo vehicles with a materiel handling crane of which eight will be gun tractors for the BAE Systems Land Systems M777 155 mm towed howitzer

* five recovery variants, which can be used on vehicles up to the size of General Dynamics Land Systems--Canada LAV-III/Stryker

* twelve tank transporter tractor variants, to complement the army's newly acquired Krauss-Maffei Wegmann Leopard 2 tanks

* 40 palletised loading systems with container handling unit vehicles that include ten petroleum, oils and other lubricants and five water transport variants.

Deliveries of the Actros-based vehicles to Afghanistan are scheduled to begin the third quarter of 2007 and be completed in March 2008. All of the vehicles will be fitted with an armoured cab developed for DaimlerChrysler by South Africa's Land Mobility Technologies. The 2000-kg LMT protects against small arms, blast and splinters while the flat bottom is 'a sandwich of armour and shock-absorbing material'. To further reduce the shock of blast beneath the vehicle the seats are mounted on the wall instead of the floor.

The Canadian Army had been relying heavily on these vehicles in Afghanistan, as it would be difficult to fit amour on its 20-year old Medium Logistics Vehicle Wheeled trucks, based on the old US M35/M36 design, and still expect it to carry a significant payload. In the separate Medium Support Vehicle System (MSVS) project announced in June 2006 the Department of National Defence intends to spend C$1.2 billion to acquire:

* 1500 five-tonne Medium-Size Logistics Trucks

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* 800 commercial vehicles adapted for military use

* 1000 mission kits such as kitchens, offices and medical stations

* 300 armour protection kits. The army has stated that the armoured HLVW and MSVS trucks will be fitted with a protected weapon station.

United States

The Canadian experience is typical of armies playing an active role in the US-led War on Terror. <<Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan are placing demands on ground equipment far beyond what is typically experienced during training or home station operations. Some of these demands rise from higher usage rates, others from the rigors of extended operations in harsh environments,>> General Richard Cody, the US Army's Vice Chief of Staff, told legislators earlier this year as they considered the fiscal year 2008 (FY08) budget and the supplement War on Terror requests. <<Overall, our light and heavy tactical vehicle fleet is experiencing some of the most dramatic effects of excessive wear, operating between three and six times the planned rates.>>

The high operations tempo these vehicles are experiencing is exacerbated by the need to fit add-on armour kits to all Tactical Wheeled Vehicles (TWV). By January 2007 the US Army had fitted armour protection to 26,000 TWVs in Afghanistan and Iraq, this compared to 19,000 by January 2006. Armour places an additional burden on the suspension of a TWV and reduces payload. More trips are thus required to deliver the same payload capacity. The weight of the armour also increases the TWV's fuel consumption, thus requiring more diesel to be delivered.

The US Department of Defense's Long-Term Armor Strategy requires that every new TWV be 'fitted for but not with' B-Kit armour that can be easily fitted in the field to supplement the integrated armour protection (A-Kit) fitted during the manufacture process in areas that would be difficult to reach in the field. The Department of Defense's Selected Acquisition Reports presented to congress noted that for the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles: <<Program costs increased $ 3.4 million (+19.2%) from $17.4 million to $ 20.8 million, due primarily to the addition of Long Term Armor Strategy (Ltas) A-Cab (+$1.2 million) and associated Ltas installation kits (+$1.3 million).>>

Oshkosh, which builds the Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles (FHTV) for the army, is a prime example of greater industry involvement in fleet maintenance. In mid-February 2007 the US Army awarded Oshkosh an initial $ 22 million contract for Theater Provided Equipment Refurbishment (Tper) of 319 FHTV units under a four-year indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract. Work will be performed in Oshkosh's facility in Jahra, Kuwait. The order covers PLS, Hemtt and Het vehicles, which are all produced by Oshkosh, as well as Het trailers. In early March the army selected Oshkosh to receive a four-year contract for the Tper of M915 Line Haul tractors built by Freightliner. The initial $13.8 million delivery order covers the refurbishment of 137 vehicles over a ten-month period.

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The Oshkosh Family of Heavy Tactical Vehicles (FHTV) comprises:

* the M1075 Palletized Load System (PLS) truck and M1076 PLS trailer

* the eleven-tonne 8 x 8 Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (Hemtt) series, which includes the M977 cargo truck, the M978 2500-gallon fuel tanker, the M983 tractor, M984A1 wrecker and M985 cargo truck with materiel-handling crane and the M1120 load-handling system

* the Heavy Equipment Transporter System (Hets) designed to transport the M1 main battle tank

* the M1977 Common Bridge Transporter.

The Hemtt entered production in 1982 and the PLS vehicle and trailer in 1993. More than 25,000 of these trucks and trailers are now in US Army service. On 23 February 2007 the Tank-automotive and Armaments Command (Tacom) awarded an $ 878 million contract to Oshkosh for 1857 new Hemtt and PLS vehicles and 2599 new PLS trailers. The contract also covers the remanufacture of 1130 Hemtts.

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The army has conducted an 18-month performance and reliability evaluation of the Hemtt A3, which Oshkosh unveiled in mid-February 2005. The Hemtt A3 is a third-generation design which features numerous advanced technologies including an enhanced load handling system, independent suspension and improved performance. The Hemtt A3 also introduces the Propulse hybrid diesel-electric drive that increases fuel economy by at least 20% and allows the vehicle to export up to 200 kilowatts of AC power thus reducing the army's requirements for separate generators. The A3 is 1360 kg lighter than its predecessor enabling it to be carried inside a C-130 Hercules tactical transport aircraft with a full 13-tonne payload, a first for the Hemtt line.

Oshkosh has delivered more than 8200 6 x 6 Marine Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) trucks to the US Marine Corps since December 1998 to replace the five-tonne M809/M939 medium tactical trucks. The corps awarded a $169 million delivery order in March 2006 for 536 MTVR cargo vehicles and 190 MTVR tractor vehicles for delivery through April 2008. It is expected that each vehicle will have an 'economic life' of 22 years. With a payload of seven tonnes off-road and twelve tonnes on-road and greater cross-country performance the MTVR represents an enhancement in capability. The 274 MTVR wreckers and 426 MTVR dump trucks ordered in 2004 are the first variants to be equipped with the company's Command Zone electronics system, designed to simplify operation and maintenance. The corps is continuing to acquire Marine Armor System kits and Marine Corps Transparent Armored Gun Shields for its MTVR fleet.

Using technology derived from the MTVR Oshkosh has developed the Medium Tactical Truck for military customers who require a vehicle that is both capable and less expensive than the MTVR. The MTT is available in a 4 x 4 lightweight and a 6 x 6 medium configuration. On 14 February 2007 Oshkosh announced its first major international order for the new model following the signature of a $4.9 million contract with the Egyptian Ministry of Defence for 30 4 x 4 and 6 x 6 MTT cargo body variants. The first four vehicles will be shipped fully assembled from Oshkosh and follow-on trucks will be assembled at the Egyptian Tank Plant in Cairo. The order is expected to be the start of a comprehensive modernisation of the Egyptian Army's WTV fleet.

In May 2006 the Marine Corps awarded the company a firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract, worth an estimated $740.2 million, to supply new Logistics Vehicle System Replacement (LVSR) trucks, manuals, vehicle kits, test support and training. The contract followed the competitive evaluation of designs from Oshkosh and American Truck Company. The LVSR will replace the Oshkosh Mk 48 series Logistics Vehicle System, which has been in service since 1985. These have an off-road payload of 12.5 tonnes and an on-road payload of 22.5. The LVSR's 600-hp engine and TAK-4 independent suspension system enables it to achieve speeds of 100 km/h on roads and 60 km/h in cross-country mode carrying a 16.5-tonne payload. The LVSR includes several features to improve maintenance. Oshkosh's Command Zone electronics system allows the driver in the cab to monitor critical systems such as engine, transmission, brakes, central tire inflation and other electrical components. A single lubricant is used for the engine oil, transfer case, hydraulics and transmission. The LVSR and the Marine Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) share a comprehensive logistics network, common parts and similar maintenance training. This is the first new vehicle family ordered by the marines that incorporates A/B armour. Under the contract the corps can purchase a maximum quantity of 1350 cargo variants, 150 wrecker variants and 400 fifth wheel variants over the next six years. The initial $28 million FY06 delivery order covers 22 cargo, two wrecker and two fifth-wheel variants which will be used for production verification testing. The corps plans to order 74 vehicles in FY07, 55 in FY08 and 421 in FY09.

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The US Army is exploring the potential of unmanned vehicles to perform logistics missions and eventually intends to operate one-third of its vehicle fleet autonomously. Oshkosh unveiled an unmanned version of its 10 x 10 M1075 Palletized Load System (PLS) vehicle in January 2006. This features the Intelligent Vehicle Management System developed by Oshkosh, Rockwell Collins and the University of Parma. It was tested at the Darpa Unmanned Ground Vehicle Grand Challenge race in 2004 and again in October 2005 when the Oshkosh TerraMax vehicle was one of only five entries to successfully complete the 212 km course. The third Grand Challenge competition on 3 November 2007 will also be known as Urban Challenge, as vehicles will have to execute military supply missions in a mock urban area. The final event will require competing systems to safely complete a 97 km urban course in less than six hours

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By 30 June 2007 the Tactical Vehicle Systems Division of Armor Holdings had produced more than 41,000 Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) since the type entered US Army service in 1991. The company was awarded a five-year production contract in April 2003 covering the delivery of 7063 trucks and 3826 trailers from fiscal year 2004 through 2008 with options for an additional 12,000 trucks and trailers over the five-year contract. In May 2006 the US Army awarded contract modifications valued at approximately $625 million for the fourth program year for 1800 trucks and 1,077 trailers in base contract quantities and 2484 trucks in option quantities. This includes FMTV cargo, recovery, dump and High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (Himars) re-supply variants, as well as vehicles for Jordan as a second phase of an FMS contract. In December 2006 the company received two contract modifications worth a total of $649 million to deliver a further 4412 trucks and 1220 trailers. Tacom is now developing a follow-on multi-year contract.

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The FMTV consists of two primary versions, the 2.5-tonne 4 x 4 Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV) and the five-tonne 6 x 6 Medium Tactical Vehicle (MTV), which share 85% component commonality. The vehicles are produced in 15 different configurations each of which can be carried by a C-130 Hercules. The FMTV trailers can carry the same payload as their prime movers. The newest variant, the 8.8-tonne Load-Handling System (FMTV-LHS), mounts a container-handling system capable of loading a standard 20-ft ISO container on both the truck and its trailer. The five-tonne FMTV serves as the chassis for the Lockheed Martin Himars and its re-supply vehicle. The Army and the Marine Corps plan to order two re-supply vehicles and two trailers for each Himars launcher. The company's Sealy, Texas factory has produced 2035 Low Signature Armored Cab (Lsac) kits for use on FMTVs and the army recently ordered a further 445 Lsac kits.

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As part of the army's Expedited Modernization Initiative Procedure the Tactical Vehicle Systems Division has demonstrated developments such as Stability Control (which is being implemented into production), up to 30 kW of onboard electrical power, multiplexed electrical systems, on-going hybrid development, advanced diagnostic systems and enhanced load handling systems for offloading directly from a C-130.

On 13 July 2007 the US Marine Corps awarded Armor Holdings a $518.5 million contract to deliver 1154 14-tonne 4 x 4 Category I and 16 24-tonne 6 x 6 Category II Mrap vehicles by February 2008. The company's Caiman vehicle is designed to provide maximum commonality with the FMTV. The V-shaped hull is mounted on an FMTV chassis (see cover).

In late June 2007 Freightliner in Portland, Oregon received a $165.9 million delivery order for M916A3 Light Equipment Transporters from the US Army. This will complete a $725.3 million firm-fixed-price multi-year contract awarded in 2000. The M915A3 Line Haul Tractor Truck and the M916A3 Light Equipment Transporter are derived from the company's family of commercial trucks and share common components such as the cab, engine and transmission. The M915A3 tows the M871 and M872 flatbed semi-trailers, the M967 and M969 series 5000-gallon and the M1062 7500-gallon tankers. In FY08/09 the army has requested funding for 563 M915A3/Next Generation Line Hauls Phase I Vehicles to replace earlier M915 series vehicles in active army units and to equip newly formed Army National Guard and Army Reserve petroleum companies. Funding for 27 M916A3 truck tractors to replace earlier M916 vehicles in service with engineer units was also requested. FY08 will be the first year for acquisition of the Next Generation Line Haul Vehicle.

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The management of International Military and Government (IMG) has been working since 2002 to double the company's slice of the WTV market. The company is now building vehicles for the Afghan Army under a contract, potentially worth $467 million, awarded by the US government in 2005. International, in partnership with SanYang Industry Company of Taiwan, is working on a five-year, $400 million contract awarded in October 2005 to supply up to 5000 trucks to the Taiwan Ministry of National Defence. The International 7400 4 x 4 vehicle, derived from a commercial model popular with the construction industry, will be used in troop carrier and general cargo roles. In 2005 the company unveiled the International 4200 MV truck, which features 360[degrees] armoured protection integrated into the cab to defeat 7.62 mm ammunition and two-kilo mine blasts. Available in 4 x 2, 4 x 4 and 6 x 4 configurations options include standard cab, extended cab and a larger crew cab variants. Add-on armour is available for each cab and a roof hatch allows a gunner to man a pintle-mounted machine gun or automatic grenade launcher.

On 31 May the Marcosyscom awarded IMG the largest Mrap contact to date; $623 million for 1200 Mrap Category 1 MaxxPro vehicles to be delivered by February 2008. An order for 16 Category 2 MaxxPro XL vehicles was placed on 19 June for delivery by September 2007. IMG developed the MaxxPro in collaboration with Israeli armour developer Plasan Sasa. The MaxxPro features an armoured V-shaped hull mounted on an International WorkStar 7000 chassis powered by an International MaxxForce turbocharged diesel engine.

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In June 2007 Ceradyne Vehicle Armor Systems and Ideal Innovations announced that they had teamed to develop the Bull vehicle protection package that can be fitted to various truck chassis. The team claims that the system will defeat explosively-formed penetrators, which are of growing concern to US-led coalition forces in Iraq. There is speculation that Marcosyscom will launch a second Mrap competition for vehicles able to withstand EFPs.

Germany

The British Army's Support Vehicle Programme, described as the largest military truck project in Europe, achieved a significant milestone with system acceptance in May 2007. The Defence Procurement Agency awarded Germany's MAN a 1 billion[pounds sterling] contract in April 2005 to supply 4851 cargo trucks, 314 recovery vehicles and 69 recovery trailers and the following June exercised a 250 million[pounds sterling] option for a further 2077 vehicles.

The Medium Mobility Vehicles, which are based on MAN's recently developed HX series, comprise light 4 x 4 vehicles with a six-tonne capacity, medium 6 x 6 vehicles (nine-tonne) and heavy 8 x 8 (15-tonne) cargo vehicles and 6 x 6 tankers. The Improved Medium Mobility 6 x 6 cargo truck and tanker are based on MAN's SX44 high-mobility chassis. The contract also covers two 8 x 8 recovery vehicles, an 18-tonne and a 36-tonne model. The first batch of 161 cargo vehicles was delivered in July 2007 to allow conversion training to begin and the first recovery vehicles are scheduled to be delivered in February 2008. Production will continue until 2015. Two brigades are scheduled to deploy on operations with the new vehicles in 2009.

The SX range is derived from the Kat 1 trucks of which MAN supplied 8168 examples to the Bundeswehr from 1976 to 1982. The improved Kat 1A1 was launched in 1993 and was followed by the 1A1.1 in 1997. More than 12,000 Kat 1/SX series trucks have been sold to more than 60 customers. Both HX and SX series vehicles can be carried by C-130 aircraft. On 20 December 2006 the German Army ordered 157 SX 45 trucks fitted with armoured cabs to support German forces deployed overseas. The contract followed a two-year field trial of prototypes by the German contingent assigned to the Nato-led Kosovo Force. The MAN SX is designed to carry 'swap platforms' and ISO containers up to a gross weight of 16 tonnes. The vehicles will be delivered between 2007 and 2012.

MAN teamed with Krauss-Maffei Wegmann to develop the Integrated Armour Cab (IAC) which is fitted during the manufacturing phase to the 8 x 8 SX 45 Multi 2 Extreme Mobility Truck System to provide Level 3 ballistic and Level 3b mine blast protection. If the customer so requires, a remote control weapon station can be fitted to the cab. Vehicles fitted with the armoured cab have been bought by Austria, Denmark, Germany and Norway. The British vehicles are being 'fitted for but not with' add-on armour kits which are being supplied by Austria's Ressenig. The Modular Armoured Cabins developed for HX and SX series vehicles weigh approximately 1300 kg and can be fitted in less than twelve hours to provide protection against Nato Stanag 4569 Level 2 ballistic threats and Level 1 mine threats.

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The Bundeswehr bought 592 MAN TGA tractor trucks in 2006 and another 500 in 2007, some of which will be used for driver training. Since 2002 BwFuhrparkService, a publicly owned company, has provided whole fleet management for the Bundeswehr's logistics vehicle fleet, including preparing force packages for operational deployment and providing support once in theatre. According to the Ministry of Defence whole-fleet management was effective enough to cut the average operating cost per kilometre by 20% within its first two years of operation.

Germany's BWB procurement agency awarded Eads a contract in November 2006 to provide twelve TransProtec protected personal transport systems to join three units bought under an immediate requirement programme. Using a load-handling system the TransProtec module, which provides a high level of protection for up to 18 personnel, can be quickly mounted on the MAN Multi A3 FSA vehicle to move troops on non-tactical missions.

In April 2007 MAN Military Vehicles Australia officially handed over the last of 14 Heavy Tank Transporter (HTT) systems to the Australian Army to support its new fleet of M1A1 main battle tanks. The system consists of MAN H76 TGA 41.530 8 x 8 prime movers which pull swing-wing low-loaders built by Australian subcontractor Drake Trailers. The army has ordered another four transporters.

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Germany's DaimlerChrylser produces the Mercedes Benz series of military logistic vehicles. The truck family consists of:

* the Unimog U 3000, U 4000 and U 5000 series of 4 x 4 high mobility trucks that are designed to carry payloads in extreme off-road conditions

* the $2000 ranges of tactical trucks that combine good off-road mobility, strategic mobility (C-160 and C-130) and optional ballistic protection with a 7 mm steel cab floor incorporated as standard to provide mine protection. The 4 x 4 model can carry a payload of four to six tonnes while the 6 x 6 can carry seven to ten tonnes

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* the militarised Atego and Axor range which are able to carry payloads between 3 and 5 tonnes. The company is working on a Bundeswehr order for 1250 vehicles

* the militarised Actros heavyweight range of trucks is available in two-, three-and four-axle configurations. More Actros vehicles are produced for the European civil market than any other vehicle of this class and on 22 June 2007 the 500,000th Actros truck built since the range was launched in 1996 rolled off the assembly line in Worth, Germany. An Actros variant armoured to protect against 7.62 mm small arms fire and eight-kg anti-tank mines in undergoing field trials.

DaimlerChrysler signed a BGN 500 million contract with the Bulgarian government in December 2003 to supply 12,900 military vehicles by 2015. The initial delivery order covered 112 G-Wagen light utility vehicles that were delivered in 2004 and 2005.

Following the selection of DaimlerChrysler in May 2007 to provide Canada's Armoured Heavy Support Vehicle System the company is believed to be well placed for the C$1.2 billion Medium Support Vehicle System project to acquire 2300 trucks for the Canadian Forces. The contract will include in-service support for an initial period of two to three years and a follow-on contract, expected to be worth C$100 million and covers support for the remainder of the expected 20-year life of the vehicles will be competed or negotiated separately. The project covers approximately:

* 1500 five-tonne medium-size logistics trucks with up to 300 load-handling system trailers; these vehicles should be 'capable of being armed and armoured' and carried by a C-130 Hercules

* 800 commercial vehicles adapted for military use

* 1000 mission kits such as kitchens, offices and medical stations

* 150 armour protection kits.

The contract for the Milcots vehicles is scheduled to be awarded in the second quarter of 2008 with deliveries to be completed by mid-2010. The contract for the standard military pattern vehicles will be awarded in the third quarter of 2008 with deliveries to run from mid-2009 until mid-2011.

France

Renault Trucks Defense, a subsidiary of Volvo, groups its vehicles into two categories. The logistics vehicles range, derived from the company's commercial vehicles, consists of the:

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* 4 x 4 Midlum, which has a six-tonne payload capacity and accommodates a 15-ft ISO shelter or other equipment

* The 4 x 4 Kerax, which can carry an eight to ten-tonne payload and be fitted with a variety of shelters

* 6 x 6 Kerax, which can carry a 13 to 16-tonne payload and handle containers and pallet rack systems. It can be equipped with tipper, shelters, fluid tanks and other payloads

* 8 x 8 Kerax, which can carry similar payloads to the 6 x 6 model up to 20 tonnes in weight.

Renault's Sherpa tactical truck range is designed specifically for military operations in demanding conditions and consists of:

* the 4 x 4 Sherpa 2, which is equipped with a four-person cab and can carry a two-tonne payload

* the 4 x 4 Sherpa 3, which is fitted with a two-person cab and can carry a two or three-tonne payload on its rear flatbed

* the 6 x 6 Sherpa 5, which has a six-tonne payload capacity

* the 6 x 6 Sherpa 10, which transports 13 tonnes

* the 6 x 6 Sherpa 15, which carries a 16-tonne payload

* the 8 x 8 Sherpa 20, which transports a 20-tonne payload.

The Sherpa 10, 15 and 20 can all handle 20-ft ISO containers and pallet rack systems and can be equipped with numerous types of bodies such as tipper, tanker and shelter systems.

Renault expanded its range with the acquisition of Acmat in May 2006. The Acmat range comprises three basic families: the Vehicule Leger de Reconnaissance et d'Appui (VLRA), which is available in 4 x 4 and 6 x 6 configurations, the Vehicule de Liaison et de Reconnaissance Blinde (VLRB) in 4 x 4 and 6 x 6 configurations and the Vehicule Logistique de L'Avant (VLA) available in 4 x 4, 6 x 6 and 8 x 8 configurations.

Renault has its sights set on the French Army's Porteur Polyvalent Terrestre plans to buy up to 400 8 to 15-tonne trucks derived from commercial vehicles to carry containers, pallets or bulk loads. The order will also cover recovery vehicles and platforms for unspecified communication and weapon systems. France's Delegation Generale pour l'Armement is expected to issue a tender in 2008.

Italy

Iveco Defence Vehicles Division, through its subsidiary Astra Veicoli Industriali, is delivering 400 M250.40WM 6 x 6 medium trucks and 350 add-on armour kits to the Belgian Army under the terms of a January 2004 70 million[euro] contract that includes an option for a further 379 vehicles. All of the cabins will have land mine protection installed. Deliveries will be completed in 2008. The vehicles are part of the SM military range developed for the Italian Army, which consists of a 4 x 4 vehicle with a seven-tonne payload, a 6 x 6 with a 17.5-tonne payload, and an 8 x 8 with a similar payload capacity. Early in 2006 the Spanish Army, which is already taking delivery of 900 M250 series vehicles, bought 82 6 x 6 artillery tractors. Iveco also offers militarised versions of the Eurcargo (medium), Stralis (heavy on-road) and Eurotrakker (heavy off-road) series of commercial vehicles in various configurations. Iveco recently delivered 150 Eurotrakker MP410E44H 8 x 8 flatbed trucks, equipped with the Tam flatbed system, to the Belgian Army.

Finland

In mid-2007 Finland's Sisu Defence began delivering the first 8 x 8 ETP high mobility trucks ordered by the Lithuanian Defence Force in December 2005. The Euro 20 million plus contract includes an option for additional vehicles worth more than Euro ten million and is Sisu's largest defence export contract to date. All of the vehicles will be fitted with a Finnish-made armoured, low-profile, two-seat cabin and a mine-protected chassis structure. The order, believed to be for 50 vehicles, includes cargo vehicles fitted with a Multilift load handling system and recovery vehicles. Sisu's ETP range also includes 4 x 4 and 6 x 6 models. The range has been joined by a 10 x 10 variant first shown at Eurosatory 2006. This vehicle was one of nine ordered by the Finnish Defence Forces configured to carry the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann Leguan bridge launching system which sets a 26-metre MLC70 bridge. Under the AKKU project, a partnership by the FDF and Finnish industry, Sisu is responsible for the complete maintenance services of the 2500 Sisu trucks in Finnish service.

Switzerland

Mowag, part of General Dynamics European Land Systems, produces the Duro tactical truck family. The newest models are the Duro III 6 x 6 truck which can carry a 6300-kg payload and the armoured Duro IIIP which carries a 2000-kg payload. Different superstructures are used to configure the Duro IIIP for a variety of missions including logistics, ambulance, troop transport and command and control. The United Kingdom has bought 198 Duro II and IIIs configured for specialist missions while the Bundeswehr has bought 30 Duro IIIPs. The latest customer is the Danish Army Materiel Command with 29 Duro IIIP armoured ambulances purchased in November 2006. The Duro III shares the same chassis as the Mowag Eagle IV 4 x 4 reconnaissance vehicle which is in Danish service. Using the Duro III 6 x 6 chassis as the basis Rheinmetall and Mowag developed the Yak multipurpose armoured vehicle for the German Army. The army already operates 30 Yaks configured as ambulance, military police and explosive ordnance disposal vehicles and is taking delivery of 100 additional vehicles ordered in September 2005.

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The German Army has bought the Yak to meet the Class 3 requirement within its GFF (Geschutzte Fuhrungs- und Funktionsfahrzeuge) armoured command and multipurpose vehicle programme. To meet the Class 4 requirement for a vehicle with a gross weight of 25 tonnes Rheinmetall is developing the 8 x 8 under a contract to the BWB procurement agency. Two prototypes are scheduled to be delivered before the end of 2007 and will complete an 18-month evaluation covering 16,000 kilometres. The vehicle will have three major sections: a three-person, forward-control cab, a 'technical compartment' containing the powerpack, NBC protection system, an overhead weapon system and a mission module container which can be removed for use as a static facility. The Modular Wisent concept could grow to include three- and five-axle vehicles (capable of carrying a 20-ft ISO container) and even a seven-axle semi-trailer.

Britain

JCB, the British manufacturer of forklift trucks, diggers and other specialist vehicles, has built two 4 x 4 High Mobility Utility Vehicle (Hmuv) demonstrators. In June 2006 the company announced the development of a range of high-mobility vehicles based on its Fastrac tractor that would be able to carry a four-tonne payload and tow a four-tonne trailer. The Hmuv was designed specifically to meet the close support needs of tactical level operations and reflects input from the British Army and other potential UK military customers. Possible applications include load carrier, personnel carrier and platform for the carriage of modular systems such as containerised command posts, gun tractor and air defence vehicle. It can travel at up to 110 km/h on or off-road. JCB is optimistic that these vehicles will achieve the same success as its High Mobility Engineer Excavator, of which more than 600 are being built for the US Army.

Czech Republic

Czech truck manufacturer Tatra sold 1607 trucks in 2006, of which 30% went to military customers. The Slovak Republic, Russia and India are particular targets for Tatra's marketing efforts and Tatra Vectra Motors produces Tatra vehicles in India for both civil and military use. The T 815-2 Armax range is produced in two and three-axle configurations and the T 816 Force range is produced in three and four-axle configurations including tractor trucks. On 5 July 2007 Tatra signed a memorandum of understanding with the Vietnam National Coal-Mineral Industries Group and the Vietnamese Ministry of Defence to examine the assembly and production of Tatra vehicles for the Vietnamese market.

Australia

Thales Australia, which is building 442 Bushmaster 4 x 4 armoured vehicles for the Australian Army, has developed two Armoured Combat Support Vehicle (ACSV) variants at company expense. The 4 x 4 ACSV combines the Bushmaster's front cab section with a flatbed rear cargo area and is capable of carrying up to five tonnes of cargo and towing an eight-tonne trailer. A 6 x 6 variant is under development that will be able to carry up to eleven tonnes, including a 20-ft ISO container, and tow a 15-tonne trailer. Oshkosh markets and will manufacture the Bushmaster family in the USA and to various US Foreign Military Sales customers.

The team of Thales Australia and Oshkosh is one of nine industry teams invited to bid for Australia's Project Land 121, a programme worth AS 3 billion to replace the Australian Army's fleet of 7700 wheeled vehicles, 3100 trailers, and 750 motorcycles and all terrain vehicles. According to the Defence Materiel Organisation, <<The requirement comprises six generic fleet ranges, with approximately 15 functional vehicle types. In addition, 18 modules or shelters are to be procured along with nine trailer variants>>. Following 2nd Pass Approval in June 2007 the DMO has launched the offer definition and refinement process, which is expected to lead to a contract by mid-2008.

Green Not so Rosy

Recent efforts on the part of engine manufacturers regarding pollution is quite laudable. 'Clean' engines rely on complex electronic components and sensors to constantly feed cylinders with optimal quantities and fuel and air ratios depending on the effort required. However, as certain forces have found out, particularly the French in Africa, poor quality fuels can irreversibly fool those clever devices and totally immobilise the vehicle. Not only do the affected tanks and fuel lines need to be thoroughly rinsed, but most--if not all- electronic sensors and computers will also need to be replaced and reset.

Ian Kemp, inputs from Eric H. Biass
US Marine Corps Tactical Wheeled Vehicle Usage in Operation Iraqi
Freedom *

 Optempo **
Vehicle type Pre-OIF OIF ratio

High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled 183 550 3
 Vehicle
Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement 500 2000 4
Logistics Vehicle System 375 1500 4

* miles per month

** a Department of Defense acronym for 'operational tempo'
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Title Annotation:Complete Guide
Author:Kemp, Ian; Biass, Eric H.
Publication:Armada International
Date:Oct 1, 2007
Words:5799
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