Armor: Armored Trucks In Big Demand

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June 3, 2007: The U.S. Army is looking for another 17,000 bomb resistant vehicles in the next three years. There are several manufacturers supplying such vehicles, and all have several things in common. These include the use of a heavy (5-12 ton class) truck chassis that is hardened to survive bombs and mines. These trucks thus have a frame and suspension that can easily support the bulletproof armor and glass. All these trucks are built using construction techniques pioneered by South African firms. This includes a V shaped bottom to the vehicle, that deflects explosions. The South African technology was imported into the U.S. in 1998, and has already been used in the design of vehicles used by peacekeepers in the Balkans. These vehicles also tend to uses a capsule design to protect the passengers and key vehicle components mines and roadside bombs. A recent improvement is the use of lighter, and more blast resistant, composite (ceramic and plastic) materials. The trucks are expensive, costing from half a million dollars, to over a million. An armored hummer costs about $170,000.

 


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