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.