Raytheon and Oshkosh have teamed up to build a prototype defensive system by placing a rapid-fire, area-defense Phalanx gun on the back of a diesel-electric, 14-ton Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT).
The U.S. Army now has 22 Phalanx guns protecting soldiers and forward bases in Iraq, Raytheon officials said. Developed to protect Navy ships, the Phalanx spits out up to 4,500 rounds of 20mm tungsten bullets per minute, shooting down missiles, rockets, and mortar and artillery rounds. A version called the Centurion, mounted on a flat-bed trailer, is currently being used in Iraq.
"The Phalanx-HEMTT prototype is part of the development of the Centurion defensive system." said John Eagles, a Raytheon public affairs manager. "Placing the weapon on a HEMTT is going to provide our customer with a uniquely mobile capacity to defend high-value installations."
The diesel-electric HEMTT saves 20 percent more fuel; a diesel engine drives a generator which then drives electric drive motors to propel the vehicle.
The Phalanx requires a significant amount of electrical power to operate, which is part of the reason why the gun is now outfitted on the back of a diesel-electric HEMTT, which is able to bring 120 kilowatts of clean, military-grade exportable power to the battlefield.
"It does provide some advanced capability," said Joaquin Salas, Oshkosh marketing manager. "So if you are positioning the vehicle with more maneuver forces or command centers that need to be mobile, those sort of things would benefit from having a vehicle that does not have to tow generators but can carry the equipment it needs and has its exportable power directly built into the vehicle."
The HEMTT was specially configured to accommodate the 7-ton Phalanx weapon.
"We removed a load-handling system that was normally carried on the back of the truck. We put fixed platforms on the vehicle and did the integration of the Phalanx," said Stephen Nimmer, Oshkosh engineering director.
Phalanx guns providing area security near forward bases in Iraq have destroyed enemy rockets, mortars and other weapons at least 105 times, Eagles said.
The traditional trailer is transportable by C-17 only one at a time, whereas three to four HEMTT A3s with a Phalanx can fit on a C-17.
Oshkosh has been working on fuel-saving alternative propulsion technologies for many years, company officials said.
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