Armor: Unbelievably Agile


June 13,2008: What happens when you cross a hummer with a mountain goat? You get ELSORV (Enhanced Logistic Off-Road Vehicle). It looks like hummer, but performs like civilian cross country vehicles with unbelievable agility. It is based on a similar vehicle designed for SOCOM (Special Operations Command) over the last five years. That vehicle, SRATS (Specialized Reconnaissance Assault and Transport System) weighs 3 tons, uses an upgraded hummer engine and is 14.6 feet long (versus 15 feet for a hummer). It can carry four passengers, plus six more on outriggers. Payload is two tons, including passengers.

The really remarkable thing about SRATS and ELSORV is the running gear, which enables it to climb over rocks, at up to an 80 degree angle. The basic design goal of these vehicles is to be able to go anywhere an infantryman can climb or scramble to (as long as there's a space large enough for the vehicle to get through). On a road, or any other hard surface, the vehicles can go up to 140 kilometers an hour. The main differences between the two vehicles are that SRATS, as befits a Special Forces vehicle, is an open cab, while ELSORV is closed, and has less carrying capacity (1.3 tons). Both vehicles are also good at crossing soft sand, and can be equipped with an armor kit that protects against 7.62mm rifle bullets.

Three ELSORV vehicles are being tested in Afghanistan, where soldiers driving them are amazed at the agility of the vehicles. Some SRATS vehicles are already being used by SOCOM operators. SRATS was developed with help from DARPA, and as part of an effort to design the JLTV (Joint Light Tactical Vehicle).


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